Lars von Trier is a Danish avant-garde director, born in 1956, whose works are heavily on the cynical side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism
. His films often have emotional pain and depression as their central themes, and just as often portray humankind as inherently evil creatures
that are more than happy to exploit, torment and ultimately destroy the few kind and selfless individuals in the world.
As a director, Trier is well-known for his extensive use of Black Comedy
, his weird ability to make actors perform way beyond their personal boundaries
, and being one of the writers of the Dogme 95 Manifesto. He also has a tendency to group his films into Trilogies involving similar themes.
" in his name does not come from German nobility, but is in fact an in-jokish nickname Trier had amongst his fellow students in film school. He ultimately decided to keep the nickname to pay homage to Erich von Stroheim and Josef von Sternberg, who also added their "von" later in life.
His more shocking work is sometimes classified as Euroshlock
Lars von Trier's works include:
- The "Europa" Trilogy:
- The "Golden Hearts" Trilogy:
- The "America, Land of Opportunity" Trilogy (Unfinished):
- The "Depression" Trilogy:
- And Also:
The Works of Lars von Trier Have Provided Examples of:
- Break the Cutie: Lars' Signature Style.
- Crapsack World: The top quote should illustrate what kind of worlds Trier creates.
- Creator Breakdown: A rather nasty bout of Depression was the main impetus for his aptly named "Depression Trilogy": Antichrist, Melancholia and Nymphomaniac. Melancholia is about a woman with crippling depression, mirroring the director's.
- Deus Angst Machina: All the time.
- Dogme 95: Co-founder and author of the Dogme 95 Manifesto and "Vow of Chastity" along with fellow Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg. Vinterberg directed the first Dogme film — Dogme #1 — The Celebration, while von Trier directed Dogme #2, The Idiots.
- Downer Ending: Very common in his movies. It would be easier to list the movies of his that don't have these. And even then, they're very bittersweet.
- Eagleland: A pretty strident Type #2. Negative reactions to his depiction of America in Dancer in the Dark inspired him to do a film that was EVEN MORE critical of America, Dogville, the first part of his "America, Land of Opportunity" Trilogy.
- And he's adamant about the fact that he'll never visit the USA, due to his fear of flying.
- Jitter Cam: More like "Hand-held camera work". Omnipresent throughout his work, and a great example of Tropes Are Not Bad.
- Le Film Artistique: Lars nearly always has a strong Narrative, and he tends to go lighter on the more esoteric stereotypes of this trope, but he gets enough mileage out of the Camera Tricks, maudlin subject matter and controversy associated with the trope for three directors.
- Melodrama: Part of his Signature Style. Has less to do with Soap Opera as with the works of Erich von Stroheim and Josef von Sternberg, both of whom inspired him to add the "von" to his surname.
- Missing Episode: Wasington [sic], the third film in The "America, Land of Opportunity" Trilogy. von Trier's depression forced him to make Antichrist instead. Jury's out if he'll ever make it.
- Stage Names: His birth name is the rather more generic "Lars Trier".
- Trans Atlantic Equivalent: Odd as the comparison may sound, Lars is this to Joss Whedon. Both are visually distinctive Writer-Directors with an ear for dialogue and an ability with actors. Both have worked in the mediums of both Television and Film. And, most importantly, both are great big believers in Angst for Angst's Sake, in addition to being Trolling Creators that like to rub their fans' noses in all the misery.
- There Are No Therapists: In all this work, there is one. And he just makes things worse.
- Trilogy: Overlaps with Thematic Series. The "Europa" Trilogy deals with, yes, Europe, specifically its precarious sociopolitical position in the then present of the 80's, The "Golden Hearts" Trilogy each features an innocent, pure female protagonist pitted against insurmountable odds, The "America, Land of Opportunity" Trilogy follows Grace, another Cutie continuously broken throughout a skewed, Minimalist America, and The "Depression" Trilogy stars Charlotte Gainsbourg and is about, well, guess.
- Troll: His Hitler comments should be a good sign of this.
- The Von Trope Family
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Has a crippling fear of flying. He'll drive to the Cannes Film Festival when one of his movies is in competition, rather than take a plane.