On May 15th, Lars Von Trier’s Cannes festival debut was noteworthy for triggering mass walkouts during the world premiere of The House That Jack Built, a serial-killer horror movie described as sadistic, gross, and utterly irredeemable. Those who fled remarked on the hideousness of children being mercilessly gunned down by a deranged sociopath. The irony is that this sounds somewhat tame when looking at Von Trier’s filmography in its entirety. I mean, what did these people expect?
Even if you’ve never seen a Von Trier movie, chances are you’ve heard about the controversial director and self-professed manipulator. His personal life is as controversial as his movies, having publicly struggled with drug and alcohol addiction; his sympathetic comments about Adolph Hitler during the premiere of Melancholia got him banned from Sundance.
Von Trier’s most infamous film, Antichrist, includes a graphic self-clitorectomy that ranks among the most disturbing moments ever committed to film.
But just who is that provocateur who’s known for leaving audiences frustrated and disgusted, and why do his films continue to find audiences when so many find both the man and his work deplorable? How does he continue to attract A-List actors when his films trigger walk-outs? Obviously, there’s more going on below the surface—most people just don’t have the stomach to look beyond the gore.
If you want to know more about what makes Von Trier tick, the 15-minute documentary below is a must-watch. Produced by Channel Criswell, it goes beyond the hype and knee-jerk reactions to the filmmaker’s work in a way that explains what makes him (dare I say it) important.
Give it a spin and let us know what you think in the Comments section. Below that, you can check out the trailer and synopsis for The House That Jack Built. Enjoy!
The House That Jack Built stars Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz, and Uma Thurman.
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