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Lars Von Trier – Deconstructing Cinema | CRISWELL | Cinema Cartography


100 Comments

  1. Harvey Rothman Author

    To criticise a film as manipulative is daft and redundant. For a film to work, it has to be manipulative to an extent, that's what cinematography, writing, lighting, storytelling, music, is all used for; to make the audience feel something, either at a purely emotional level, or empathy towards a character or subject. A film without any form of manipulation would be meaningless.

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  2. Diego Collatti Author

    man, do you touch your self by talking? come on grow up… a little bit of a sensual voice is ok, but you are overacting to me… some teenagers may find it cool, for me it´s imposible to hear it…

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  3. Valérie Van Mol Author

    I love Van Trier's movies because they make me feel in a strange way and this mood stays with me for three days.
    I perfectly understand when he says he feels fabulous about having others feel like they were manipulated.
    In a way all masterpieces do manipulate us. It steals our minds for a while and teleports it where we want to be, but kind of forces to go where we want to be.

    Even when you watch "singing in the rain", you are being manipulated. You can't control your soul anymore. It is IN the story.
    But because it brings on happy feelings, no one ever complains, or even notices it, because it is all done soft and smooth.
    Van Trier takes your mind to torture it, to load it with a semi-conscious burden sticking like oil to a seagull's wings.

    And it is talent, not manipulation.
    Remember: you entered the room and couldn't leave it after the movie started.

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  4. Salari Author

    I have to disagree with the notion that he's not trying to shock. Von Trier has even said that he does want to shock, but don't get me wrong, shocking people isn't always a bad thing, it all depends on how it's achieved. A lot of the times Von Trier's shocks seem contrived and cheap, bordering into the realms of disgust, and worst of all serve no real meaning other than being visual stimuli.

    I think a director like Nicolas Winding Refn has far more to say when he tries to shock audiences, whether it's through violence or sexuality like the Neon Demon. With his work it's easy to see how someone would be shocked or disgusted, but those emotions always feel integral to the world around it. With Von Trier it often feels like he shocks to garner attention (after all, this is a man in his fifties who got 'F*CK' tattooed on his fingers…)

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  5. AnimationFlash Author

    I feel so frustrated that we can't put auto subtitles on your videos because of the movie titles. Your videos are incredible, but sometimes, it's hard to follow when you're not english native. (and because of intelligent telling) And your accent is hard sometimes haha. I really need to focus on your words and not on the pictures.

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  6. Christopher Moonlight Author

    I'm and artists turned filmmaker and I have come to realize something about movies. They're like houses and you have to think about building them in the same way as houses. You can build a basic house, or you can become infinity creative in how you lay them out, add amenities, structure them, color them, landscape them. Sometimes you'll get people who say they want to build houses, but what they really love is bay windows, or door knobs, or thatched roofs. The results of these artists can be awe inspiring, but if they neglect all else, the real estate agent that takes people around will ultimately always hear the same thing from a perspective buyer. "It's beautiful. I love walking around and seeing how masterfully crafted the bay windows, door knobs, and thatched roofs are, but I need something that I can live in." Experimental cinema can be much the same way. It's wonderful to see art deconstructed. That's how we learn. I've learned a lot from watching it done, but I could never begrudge the average audience for being disinterested or even angry that I put them through it.

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  7. The Woody Situation Author

    Antichrist was alright.
    Melancholia was boring.
    Nymphomaniac was awesome.

    This video explains more of his thoughts and theories behind cinema. He certainly is a very interesting director.

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  8. David Roberts Author

    The word "pretentious" is one of the most overused, misused, and abused words, by people who typically fail to give examples of what exactly they found pretentious, what they thought the artist was going for, and what substance was lacking to back that up. Just because you don't like or don't understand something, it doesn't automatically mean that it's "pretentious." I enjoyed this look at von Trier's work, just like I enjoy the work itself. Thanks for posting it.

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  9. petrallen Author

    Thing about von trier is that he portrays people in the way he thinks that they think and act. Which means they don't act like people. Anyways, if he's making a living then fair play to him.

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  10. Pablo Smog Author

    "Finding it organically" is the opposite of craft, not a part of it, and one of the main reasons I don't like Von Trier.  With the exception of Dancer in the Dark, which is largely great because of Bjork, he is a remarkably indulgent director, and takes the cinematic form seriously-to-a-fault.  Even Kubrick, who obviously took himself seriously, wasn't "experimenting" lazily with form to see what lands on the canvas.  Every time I try to watch his films, a habit he is weaning me from, my main thought throughout is some variation on 'who cares?"  Why should I let this indulgent toad insult me and bore me any further?  Fast forward to the obligatory naked shots of Charlotte Gainsbourg having an orgasm and move on.  It is entirely possible Von Trier is ahead of his time, and doing things that I won't personally understand for years or decades, but I don't think so.  I think he's branded his laziness or misanthropy as deconstruction; the second thought I have after "who cares" is always, "this work has no soul."  I don't care if you're a misanthrope, but don't hate yourself so much that you MUST be glad that an audience member complains he feels manipulated.  I even like that response, because in fact an artist IS going to manipulate SOMETHING, and ought to "feel good" about that critique.  But I think it's a cowardly retreat for VT to respond like that; the guy opened the door for him, he walked through it with a grand, self-important flourish.  Why not an effective manipulation of the medium, instead of the people, whom I suspect you despise, for deigning to watch your indulgent bullshit.  VT ought to love me, because I think he's even worse than he does.  A statement made for effect, not necessarily my heartfelt opinion, which he should but never will appreciate.  Producing the opposite of bathetic kitsch does not necessarily make it valid.

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  11. David marzolino Author

    I recently saw Antichrist, and I'm still trying to digest it. Never have I witnessed a film so transgressive yet so incredibly beautiful at the same time. Any and all preconceived concepts of reality a viewer brings to this film are immediately shattered and summarily dismissed. A truly incredible film.

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  12. vollsticks Author

    I haven't seen all of his films but I enjoy his work very much. I was blown away by The Element of Crime; there's nothing else quite like it in cinema–like a lot of Von Trier's work. The Five Obstructions and Antichrist were very good, too. Haven't watched Nymphomaniac yet, not sure if I'm quite ready for it. He's definitely one of the best directors working today. This video was a great dissertation of his work; thank you.

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  13. Belisarius Cool Author

    Lars von Trier is a very polarizing figure, as are his movies. Dogville is probably my favorite of the films that I've seen. I like to think that his films allowed me to turn my cynicism into something more constructive by giving me an outlet to contemplate my issues with modern life.

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  14. Jason Doe Author

    Very, very interesting. I still absolutely hate him!

    (as a director and especially as the manipulative bastard that he is – not necessarily as a person)

    P.S. I discovered this channel one hour ago and have been binge-watching ever since. Insta-subbed!

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  15. Isismusicnow Author

    i really like what you say. Spot on. But his way of directing is very tough for the actors. He's got a group of favorite actors who appears in every movie. I think they are very secure of themselves. Bjork didn't make it, Nicole Kidman didn't.

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  16. Carissa Ferguson Author

    Question: Was Lars Von Trier ever inspired by Thornton Wilder's 1937 play "Our Town"? If I'm correct, the entire premise of "Our Town" was to strip the play down to its bare minimum in order to challenge theatrical realism (or in Trier's case the cinematic illusion). Wilder, much like Trier, would often break the fourth wall. He did this in "Our Town" by incorporating a narrator in which he / she would constantly acknowledge the audience throughout the play. Another similarity is how they both use of props. Much like "Dogville" Wilder only used just enough props to set the scenery so that it wouldn't distract the audience from the performance or the story.

    But maybe I'm drawing parallels that don't exist… idk

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  17. Pineal Dreams Author

    Love him or hate him; Von Trier is, without doubt, one of the most important filmmakers of our generation. Potentially the greatest to break out since the 90's.
    He always, always has a point, a theme, a topic to explore. He covers areas most people wouldn't touch, and everyone of his films are endlessly inventive.
    To say you dislike his work would be fair.
    To say his work is bad would be a fallacy.

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  18. VFX Todd Author

    I liked Melancholia a lot. I also found Breaking The Waves engaging despite its uncomfortable presentation. In truth, it was quite human in its story.

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  19. metube Author

    yeah he;s thrashing out his uncomfortable fantasies and experiments onscreen… like every single film student ever doesn't do that anyway. its tedious as fuck. Also its a bit annoying how he insists on using female leads and projecting his male issues on female characters…after 6 films it just feels like what he's trying to get out is his hatred of women (specifically his mother).

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  20. Brother Andy Author

    Huh? Yawn. There's a difference between being clever and being intellectual. Being contrary and contrite for the sake of being so becomes contrived and, therefore, boring very quickly (such as the case of "Natural Born Killers"). When a "joke" wears thin, the creator appears aggressive, condescending, and audiences respond with anger. If, on the other hand, the creator is working with experimentation organically, such as the Dadaists, Cubists, Expressionists, then the truth, the humanity, the higher intellect is still recognizable, even if misunderstood. The basics, even in "breaking the rules", are still intact, taking the next logical step. Out of chaos comes order but what's the point here? You refer to Von Triers work as "deconstructive". I'd say closer to "de-evolved" non-sense. His films don't seem to be about anything other than seeking negative attention for himself. A masochistic sociopath? I've seen several of his films, not knowing they were created by him, and now that I know who was behind the films and why he did what he did, my response of pure boredom and apathy was appropriate. I won't make the mistake of watching his films again. What a waste all around. He's no Lynch, Pasolini, Tarkovsky, Bergman, or Kubrick.

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  21. silem arod Author

    May i ask if you could add eng sub? Since English is not my native language, I miss some sentences in this speech. I want to hear&understand everything 🙂
    I appreciate your effort for making this video. 🙂

    Reply
  22. Telios Abraxas Author

    “The bird fights its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. He who would be born must first destroy a world. The bird flies to God. That God's name is Abraxas.” -Hermann Hesse, "Demian" Understand this and you will understand Lars von Trier's films.

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  23. Katelyn Offenhauer Author

    I loved this video and I love LVT. I always have to think really hard about his films when I first see them alongside some online research. Antichrist was actually the first movie of his I saw and I'm sort of amazed that didn't shock me out of skipping out on the rest of his films. haha But I love Antichrist, Nymphomaniac, Melancholia, and Dogville. I'm dying to see the rest of his movies, I just need to order them online because my local movie store doesn't seem to have them. I always noticed these things you pointed out in your video, I just never knew how to put them into words. I think it will help me look at his films in a different light when I watch them again (I actually just finished watching Dogville for the second time). I've seen Nymphomaniac like four times already, so it's clearly my favorite. I just love how he writes his female characters, and I could strangely relate to Jo in Nymphomaniac even though I don't consider myself to be a sex addict.

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  24. Arkan AO. Author

    Cinema and the whole art of filmmaking is to provoke something in us, making us uncomfortable and disturbed, and to go beyond the limits of filmmaking, even beyond our existence. And for all of these, Lars von Trier is the master.

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  25. Jens B Author

    Lars von Triers movies are often very cheap made and generally involves a lot of sex and violence or both. You also always get the feeling watching a Lars von Trier movie that it very much is about his own mental problems in different forms.

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  26. Juan Miguel Delgado Author

    Emily Watson, Björk, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kirsten Dunst probably had the peak of their careers in LVT films. No one else would have given them such brilliant characters to play.

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  27. Viktor Stravinsky Author

    Well even though I respect Lars Von trier for being certainly “unique” I have to say I thoroughly hate him, I don’t know if it’s just me but I just don’t see the “artistic revelation” in making you’re movies intentionally shitty and poorly made to just be unique and to prove a point, like sure I get that he’s trying deconstruct the entire spectrum of typical filmmaking and such but why does he fell like he has to do that in the worst way possible, the reason why love Andrei Tarkovsky is because he tears down typical film-structures due to wanting to further evolve the boundaries of film-making with his own techniques, whereas I feel Lars Von trier does it just to be contrarian while not further evolving the scope of cinema and the fact that he acts he like he is so smart and brave for making he’s movies intentionally shitty makes him, in my eyes, so pretentious. For all the gore, child-murder, rape, sex and for all the same repetitive techniques he uses to strike a chord with the audience, his films say so fucking little and aren’t revolutionary in the slightest nor any deeper then any of the films he likes to shit on when it all boils to being just shocking for the sake of being shocking and contrarian for the sake of being contrarian.

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  28. Mara Steele Author

    Great video essay, as usual; thank you! Can someone tell me who is speaking at appx 9:00 regarding the “main rule for editing” being to cut for maximum emotional impact? Thanks again, am learning very important nuances from your lectures.

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  29. Plamen Nedev Author

    Great analysis. Thanks.
    I heard Lars plans to stop making films!!! Damn!
    Do you know what would be super crazy idea for Lars interpretation?
    The story about a black singer castrated as a child in order to keep his high pitched voice. Later in life he tries to befriend boys near his age of castration (12 y old) in order to "make clones of himself" because he was not able to produce biological kids. In his SUPER TWISTED mind the black singer believed that making clones of himself would make him "immortal".
    He even built an abusement park to lure kids.
    But the singer went toooooooo far – he actually introduced his special friends to masturbation and oral sex and was accused of pedophilia several times and paid hush money to the parents. Yes, it was a pedophilia per se but no body realized the singer was a castrato. In fact that's why FBI never found a single sperm cell on those boys pants. The singer was not able to perform full penetration (anal or vaginal). That's why the case was soooo bafling to the public. The public was divided on hardcore fans and haters.
    The singer even produced 3 Caucasian kids using a donor sperm and a surrogate uterus.
    He bleached his face and changed it surgically because his father was the one who castrated him and his face reminded him too much of his father's face.
    IMHO it would be a hit if Lars would make it.
    (I know you already guess who the prototype is, but it will be written "Any resemblance with real people is …blah blah"

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  30. Michael Murphy Author

    Lars Von Triers Is A CATHOLIC! This is the greatest Catholic Film since A Clockwork Orange!
    Judgement Day will come, for you and all those who think your going to get away Scot free, like Jack! Like Clockwork Orange this is about free-will and the price you pay for your Sins, sorry these words are unhip to you! But dont wonder why there are so many senseless mass shootings, (you didn't mention gun control!) for like a guy named Dostoevsky once said, "without God, Everything is permissible!" even lame ass raps about film! Thankfully Dos also said in The Idiot, "Beauty will save the World!" and thats what Von Triers is doing!

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  31. Sergio Rebolledo Author

    I think your analysis is exceptional! The only thing that you need to let rest is that there is purpose in every film. When you have liberties you experiment without conventions, right?
    He did.
    It's, perhaps, not his best moment but he gets a free pass because its sincere and not manipulation.

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