Monday, September 28, 2009

Probably not a film that's going to be beloved by the German tourist industry

One of the more interesting exchanges I've seen in any recent interviews with an actor:

What's your impression of Germany after spending two months in a dark forest and a deserted hotel?

The hotel and the forest were two separate worlds. The forest was incredibly beautiful but I also found it extremely frightening.

That doesn't sound like a declaration of love...

Put it this way: my impression is not nearly as bad as you might think.

'Not as bad as you might think'. That sounds positive? Or...maybe not.

During the filming I spent two months covered in blood and running through the woods screaming.


Not your typical German holiday, then.

From Martina Meister's interview with Charlotte Gainsbourg, star of Antichrist, originally in the Frankfurter Rundschau.


Francis Sedgemore said...

What do you make of the interview with Gainsbourg, and have you seen "Antichrist"? I haven't, yet, though I intend to at some point. I have a love-hate relationship with von Trier's work, but on balance this tends toward the love. It wasn't always thus, and I didn't really gain a measure of the man until I saw "De fem benspænd".

Reading Meister's interview in FR, I'm struck by the fact that until now no-one has seen fit to question Gainsbourg about the misogyny charges levelled against von Trier by many a gobby film critic. Instead they concentrate on interviewing (or rather, having a pop at) von Trier. But as the critic Mark Kermode says, the last person whose word on Lars von Trier you should trust is … Lars von Trier.

J. Carter Wood said...

I thought the interview was good, and Gainsbourg comes across as being insightful about her work without being precious about it.

I've tended to be a bit stunned by von Trier's work, in both a good way and bad. They tend to leave me a bit exhausted. I've seen Festen, the Idiots, Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark. We have the DVD of Dogville sitting in our living room, but I'm still building myself up to see it.

Though I don't know his whole oeuvre, I'm skeptical about the charges of misogyny. He does have a talent for putting his characters through hell, and he seems to be especially effective at doing so to his female characters. (And, as the interview suggests, his female actors.) But I don't think you can say: ah, tormented woman=misogyny.

I'm not sure I'd like to meet the man in person, but I do think he's one of the most creative and intense directors out there. I don't think anyone makes films that so reliably discomfort me while also not insulting me.

I'll have to see 'The Five Obstructions', thanks for the tip. Sounds fabulous.

Francis Sedgemore said...

Festen is by von Trier's Dogme cohort Thomas Vinterberg. I hesitate to call it one of my favourite Danish films, given the harrowing subject matter, but it's certainly one of those that had a huge impact on me, and rewards re-viewing.

It's not just von Trier; the Danish people are exhausting, period. And I love 'em to bits.

J. Carter Wood said...

Of course, Festen is from Vinterberg.

I would like to see more Scandinavian film: I'm usually very impressed by it. However, also usually end up feeling depressed.