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ZENTROPA

Denmark, 1991 (MIFF 1992)

Director: Lars von Trier

Zentropa, the most dazzling film seen at Cannes for years, is a trip along the twin scenic routes of myth and history. It's about a journey of illusion that provides lightning glimpses, from a darkling parallel track, of the reality-track humanity so often leaves behind — especially when rebuilding the social-politi­cal infrastructure after a world war.

The film is about the present thinly dis­guised as the past. The "Europe 1945" setting vouchsafes a continent in chaos searching for unity, just like Europe 1991 pre-federalization. And the film is also about the USA then and now. The postwar world's policeman-peace­keeper, embodied in an American hero played with goofball sweetness by Jean-Marc Barr, is a one-man walking Marshall Plan.

The tongue-in-cheek all-inclusiveness of the story and setting conveys itself to the style. Zentropa is a film so extravagantly playful that it seems like a fire-sale of postmodernist tropes. Strewn with narrative non-sequiturs and casual apocalypses, it is to postwar Europe what Twin Peaks is to small-town America. Its lexicon of visual artifices — front and back projection, colour-and-monochrome mixes, surrealist sets, Wellesian shots in which the camera threads the unthreadable — suggests that von Trier has studied every breakthrough-baroque film from Citizen Kane to Blue Velvet via Vertigo, and refused to tuck their ornate influences

See also...

FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS, THE

Denmark, 2004
The Five Obstructions (De Fem Benspænd) Denmark'Between Lars von Trier and me I can say there is a sympathy and professional respect, but also both of us have an appreciation of play and experimen… More »

BOSS OF IT ALL, THE

Denmark, 2006
“Here comes a film. It's a comedy and harmless.” - Lars von Trier When the owner of an IT company decides to sell up, he's forced to wheel out the CEO to seal the deal. The only problem is the C… More »

ANTICHRIST

Denmark, Germany, France, Sweden, Italy, Poland, 2009
The most controversial film of Cannes 2009. The latest feature from Lars von Trier (Dancer in the Dark, Breaking the Waves) is a harrowing depiction of marital breakdown starring a grieving couple, W… More »

DOGTOOTH

Greece, 2009
“Three indefinitely grounded siblings are stuck in an alternative universe dictated by their parents' cruel whimsies - think an eternal Big Brother house as designed by Lars von Trier.” - Variety… More »

THE KINGDOM

Denmark, 1994
The Kingdom is more of an epic than a small screen serial-a truly macabre work of diabolical diversity with an unpredictable narra­tive, harbouring a tender ghost story at the core of its haunted… More »

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