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THE EXHIBITED

Denmark, 2000 (MIFF 2000, Documentaries)

Director: Jesper Jargil

Your life is controlled by an anthill in the New Mexico desert. Your emotions, social interactions, personality and relationships change depending on a few thousand bugs scuttling around the sand... and the perverse sense of humour of celebrated and notorious director Lars Von Trier.

As an art project sideline to his filmmaking career, Von Trier set up a bizarre experiment and then invited the public to view it. Images from a camera trained on a colony of ants were beamed to Europe. A group of 53 actors, in 19 rooms spread across three floors, improvised for weeks; their activities were controlled by a computer system triggered by the ants. Coloured lights and strict behaviour rules dictated the 'script'. What emerged was a real life soap opera that defied human logic and began to resemble the kill or be killed world of the ants. Curiously enough, the actors were never told what determined their behaviour.

Playful (in a very twisted, but typically Von Trier fashion) and definitely strange, The eXhibited is an extreme experiment and a fascinating documentary.

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