[[caption-width-right:309:[[SarcasmMode A friendly gentleman, that Lars.]]]]

->"Welcome to the world of Lars von Trier, where [[{{Film/Antichrist}} babies falling out of windows]] is [[CrapsackWorld the LEAST of your problems!]]"
-->-- ''WebVideo/BrowsHeldHigh''

Lars von Trier is a Danish avant-garde writer-director, born in 1956. A notorious proponent of {{Melodrama}}, his works are often considered to be heavily on the cynical side of the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism. His films are often considered to have emotional pain and depression as their central themes, and just as often portray [[HobbesWasRight 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. [[NeverLiveItDown Do bear in mind that this is the popular stereotype of his work]], and in fact his films have taken a variety of approaches, though a focus on [[TrueArtIsAngsty Angst]] is frequently present.

As a director, von Trier is well-known for his extensive use of BlackComedy, his weird ability to make [[EnforcedMethodActing actors perform way beyond]] [[DyeingForYourArt 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.

The "[[TheVonTropeFamily von]]" in his name does not come from German nobility, but is in fact an in-jokish nickname von 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:
** ''Film/TheElementOfCrime''
** ''Film/{{Epidemic}}''
** ''Film/{{Europa}}''

* The "Golden Hearts" Trilogy:
** ''Film/BreakingTheWaves''
** ''Film/TheIdiots''
** ''Film/DancerInTheDark''

* The "USA, Land of Opportunity" Trilogy (Unfinished):
** ''Film/{{Dogville}}''
** ''Film/{{Manderlay}}''
** ''Wasington'' [sic] (Planned)

* The "Depression" Trilogy:
** ''Film/{{Antichrist}}''
** ''Film/{{Melancholia}}''
** ''Film/{{Nymphomaniac}}''

* [[HeAlsoDid And Also]]:
** ''Series/{{Riget}}''
** ''Medea''
** ''TheBossOfItAll''

!!The Works of Lars von Trier Have Provided Examples of:

* BreakTheCutie: Lars' SignatureStyle.
* ControlFreak: Every actor he's ever worked with has characterized von Trier as this. Some (StellanSkarsgard, WillemDafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg) [[TeethClenchedTeamwork seem to tolerate this enough to work with him again]], while others ([[{{Bjork}} Björk]], Nicole Kidman, James Caan) [[WeUsedToBeFriends do not]].
* CrapsackWorld: The top quote should illustrate what kind of worlds von Trier creates.
* CreatorBreakdown: 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, [[WriteWhatYouKnow mirroring the director's.]]
* {{Main/Deconstruction}}: The ''Europa Trilogy'' is a deconstruction of Idealism.
** Lampshaded in ''Epidemic'', where Lars von Trier's AuthorAvatar [[LeaningOnTheFourthWall explains the story of the film he's working on]] which mirrors the films plot.
* DeusAngstMachina: [[CreatorThumbprint All]] [[SignatureStyle the]] [[TrueArtIsAngsty time.]]
* {{Dogme 95}}: Co-founder and author of the [[http://pov.imv.au.dk/Issue_10/section_1/artc1A.html Dogme 95 Manifesto and "Vow of Chastity"]] along with fellow Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg. Vinterberg directed the first Dogme film -- Dogme #1 -- ''TheCelebration'', while von Trier directed Dogme #2, ''Film/TheIdiots''.
* DownerEnding: Very common in his movies. It would be easier to list the movies of his that don't have these, though when they don't, they tend to be a ''very'' [[BittersweetEnding bittersweet]] variation of EarnYourHappyEnding.
* DysfunctionJunction: Every one of his movies ever.
** Bizarrely, von Trier is the product of a RealLife example, as well. He was born to a pair of Communist Nudist parents -- [[NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer You read that right]] -- and was raised in an environment where "Everything was permitted, except for Religion, Feelings, or Enjoyment," to use the man's words. The lack of rules his parents set for him caused him to go strongly in the opposite direction, sowing the seeds for the ControlFreak he grew up to be. In addition, his Father used to routinely condemn "Golden Hearts" like Jesus Christ, eventually causing him to embrace Christianity in an act of rebellion (This also inspired the title of his second Trilogy, all of which involve self-sacrificting heroines). It's been said that Lars is one of the few filmmakers with a backstory as singular as his films.
* {{Eagleland}}: A pretty strident Type #2. Negative reactions to his depiction of America in ''DancerInTheDark'' inspired him to do a film that was EVEN MORE critical of America, ''{{Dogville}}'', the first part of his "USA, Land of Opportunity" Trilogy. However, von Trier himself has stated in interviews he did not intend Dancer in the Dark to be a criticism of America.
** And he's adamant about the fact that he'll never visit the USA, due to his fear of flying.
* FilmNoir: His work shows a strong influence from the genre, especially his early films. Of course his interpretation of the genre flirts with {{Main/Deconstruction}}.
** For example: ''The Element of Crime'' deconstructs the FemmeFatale.
* {{Flanderization}}: Over the course of his career, his plots have become [[{{Minimalism}} simpler]], the content of the stories [[DarkerAndEdgier harsher]], and his characters [[HumansAreBastards meaner]] [[UpToEleven and meaner]].
* JitterCam: More like "Hand-held camera work". Omnipresent throughout his work, and a great example of TropesAreNotBad.
* LeFilmArtistique: Lars nearly always has a strong Narrative, and he tends to go lighter on the [[{{Surrealism}} more]] [[TrueArtIsIncomprehensible esoteric]] stereotypes of this trope, but he gets enough mileage out of the CameraTricks, [[TrueArtIsAngsty maudlin subject matter]] and [[RefugeInAudacity controversy]] associated with the trope for three directors.
* {{Melodrama}}: Part of his SignatureStyle. Has less to do with SoapOpera as with the works of Erich von Stroheim and Josef von Sternberg, both of whom inspired him to add the "[[TheVonTropeFamily von]]" to his surname.
* {{Minimalism}}: Beginning with ''Breaking the Waves'', von Trier began a process of paring his films down to their essentials. ''The Idiots'' and aforementioned ''Breaking the Waves'' began by eschewing SpecialEffects and slick photography and focusing on character and story instead. ''Dancer in the Dark'' continued the trend, while streamlining characterization and plotting to a level of simplicity reminiscent of the [[SilentAgeOfHollywood Silent Era]]. ''Dogville'' and ''Manderlay'' eliminated sets and most props, filming everything on a large soundstage with buildings marked by lines of chalk. And finally ''Antichrist'' brought it all down to only two actors engaged in a series of Mind Games, though it did make use of some CGI. ''Melancholia'' and ''Nymphomaniac'' bring things back to a level of sophistication not seen since ''Breaking the Waves'', though the characters are still as broadly drawn as they've been since ''Dancer in the Dark''. [[{{Jerkass}} And almost]] [[DysfunctionJunction uniformly unpleasant.]]
* MisanthropeSupreme: Lars may be this. [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation Alternately]], the misanthropy of his work may just be a stylistic device borne out of RuleOfDrama. [[TakeAThirdOption Or]] he may just be a [[{{Troll}} troll.]] It's difficult to be sure.
* MissingEpisode: ''Wasington'' [sic], the third film in The "USA, Land of Opportunity" Trilogy. von Trier's depression forced him to make ''{{Antichrist}}'' instead. Jury's out if he'll ever make it.
* OddballInTheSeries: ''The Boss of It All'' is a ''straightforward Workplace Comedy'' starring frequent collaborator Jens Albinus. Supposedly made at the outset of his depression as an attempt to regain his enthusiasm for filmmaking.
* StageNames: His birth name is the rather more generic "Lars Trier".
* SupernaturalFiction: Appears both overtly (''Riget'') and subtly (''Breaking the Waves'', ''Melancholia'') throughout his work, and often overlaps with MagicRealism. His only films to date to have no Supernatural or Paranormal elements whatsoever are ''The Idiots'', ''Dancer in the Dark'', ''Dogville'' and ''Manderlay''.
* TransAtlanticEquivalent: Odd as the comparison may sound, Lars is this to JossWhedon. 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 [[TrueArtIsAngsty Angst for Angst's Sake]], in addition to being [[TrollingCreator Trolling Creators]] that like to rub their fans' noses in all the misery.
** It goes farther than that; both are quite fond of putting a [[AlwaysFemale Female Protagonist]] through [[BreakTheCutie unbelievable hardships]] that [[DeusAngstMachina never seem to end]]. They differ in that Whedon's are always WaifFu and von Trier's are always TheIngenue, but the principle is the same.
** He also shares with Creator/TheCoenBrothers the tendency to pit [[IncorruptiblePurePureness Incorruptibly Pure]] protagonists against Baby-Eating Evil antagonists. That and their [[MisanthropeSupreme complete misanthropy]].
** Creator/ToddSolondz shares his affinity for black comedy and nightmarish, misanthropic situations.
* ThereAreNoTherapists: In all his work, there is [[{{Antichrist}} one]]. [[FromBadToWorse And he just makes things worse.]]
* {{Trilogy}}: Overlaps with ThematicSeries. The "Europa" Trilogy deals with, yes, Europe, specifically its precarious sociopolitical position in the aftermath of WWII and the Cold War. The "Golden Hearts" Trilogy each features an [[TheCutie innocent, pure]] [[AlwaysFemale female protagonist]] pitted against [[BreakTheCutie insurmountable odds]]. The "USA, Land of Opportunity" Trilogy follows Grace, another Cutie continuously broken throughout a skewed, [[{{Minimalism}} Minimalist]] America, and The "Depression" Trilogy stars Charlotte Gainsbourg and is about, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin well, guess.]]
* {{Troll}}: His Hitler comments should be a good sign of this.
* TheVonTropeFamily
* WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs: [[http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/lars-von-trier-breaking-silence-worries-he-can-t-make-films-sober-1.2854739?cmp=fbtl&utm_content=bufferd2671&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer His works actually]], Lars has stated that they came from drug and alcohol abuse, and that he may have to stop since he is a recoverring addict.
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes: 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.