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Lars von Trier Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (11) | Trivia (20) | Personal Quotes (19)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 30 April 1956Copenhagen, Denmark
Birth NameLars Trier
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Probably the most ambitious and visually distinctive filmmaker to emerge from Denmark since Carl Theodor Dreyer over 60 years earlier, Lars von Trier studied film at the Danish Film School and attracted international attention with his very first feature, The Element of Crime (1984). A highly distinctive blend of film noir and German Expressionism with stylistic nods to Dreyer, Andrei Tarkovsky and Orson Welles, its combination of yellow-tinted monochrome cinematography (pierced by shafts of blue light) and doom-haunted atmosphere made it an unforgettable visual experience. His subsequent features Epidemic (1987) and Europa (1991) have been equally ambitious both thematically and visually, though his international fame is most likely to be based on The Kingdom (1994), a TV soap opera blending hospital drama, ghost story and Twin Peaks (1990)-style surrealism that was so successful in Denmark that it was released internationally as a 280-minute theatrical feature.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Michael Brooke < michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Lars von Trier (the "von" was adopted during his stay at the Danish Film School) was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in April 1956. He graduated from the Danish Film School in 1983 with his short film Befrielsesbilleder (1982) ("Images of Relief"), which won the Best Film award at the Munich Film Festival the following year. He had his real breakthrough with the "Forbrydelsens element" (The Element of Crime (1984)), an expressionistic, yellow-tinted and post-modern film with a psychological theme, for which he won the Technical Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. "The Element of Crime" was follow by the fiasco Epidemic (1987) in 1987, but Lars von Trier made a comeback with his 1991 film _Europa_ (US title: "Zentropa"), which won him the Jury Prize as well as the Technical Grand Prize and Best Artistic Contribution at the Cannes Film Festival. Taking place in post-war Germany, Europa is a great example of the post-apocalyptic film, with a wired hypnotic architecture and a centralization on the human morale, responsibility, and love. However, Lars von Trier will probably be remembered for his later films. His Breaking the Waves (1996), for which he won the Jury Prize at Cannes, was the director's first film (in a trilogy) that centered on the female sex. "Breaking the Waves" is perhaps one of the worlds most emotional motion pictures, leaving not an eye dry when it ends, and the viewer realizes that love, indeed, is the greatest power. With Dancer in the Dark (2000), Lars von Trier made a melodrama about an east European woman who sacrifices everything, literally, to save her son from getting the same eye-illness she herself suffers from and thereby going blind. The film was one of the first motion pictures in the world to be filmed with entirely digital equipment. Icelandic singer-superstar Björk, who also made all the music, starred as Selma, the principal character. Dancer in the Dark won the 2000 Palm D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. If not for his movies, Lars von Trier is going to be remembered for his TV mini-series "Riget" (The Kingdom (1994)) from 1994; in which Lars von Trier blends his own cinematic style with a David Lynch-like surrealistic story about ghosts, god and satan. It was "The Kingdom" which made Lars von Trier a household name in Denmark. Together with producer Peter Ålbæk Jensen, Lars von Trier owns Zentropa Enterprizes, which produces Lars von Triers films, as well as many others.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Nikolaj Hawaleschka Stenberg <nstenberg@rocketmail.com>

Spouse (2)

Bente Frøge (1997 - present) (2 children)
Cæcilia Holbek Trier (? - 1996) (divorced) (2 children)

Trade Mark (11)

Hypnosis figures significantly in many of his films
Frequently casts Udo Kier
Fequently casts Jean-Marc Barr
Often casts Stellan Skarsgård.
Often casts Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Shoots digitally, encorporating imperfect hand-held camera movements that go in and out of focus.
The majority of his feature films have a female lead who experiences some form of transcendence after battling through harsh adversity.
Chaptering of his films, including the use of stylistic prologues and epilogues.
His films are often made as part of a trilogy (Golden Heart trilogy, USA trilogy, the Depression trilogy)
Uses various editing tricks
Philisophical and sometimes witty yet disturbing dialogue

Trivia (20)

In 1995, his dying mother told her son on her deathbed that the man he believed was his father was, in fact, was not. Following her death, he tracked down his biological father, a 90-year-old man who after four combative meetings told him that, if he wanted to speak to him again, he could do it through his lawyer.
Broke up with his pregnant wife and moved in with their (much younger) babysitter.
Added 'von' to his name because his peers at the Danish Film School called him so.
Von Trier's mother, a civil service worker named Inger Høst, confessed shortly before her death that his real father was not Ulf Trier (another ministry worker) but rather her employer, Fritz Michael Hartmann; she explained she wanted a man with "artistic genes," and Hartmann, a member of an illustrious family of Danish composers including Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann and Niels Viggo Bentzon, seemed to fit the bill.
Nephew of filmmaker Børge Høst.
Helped form a collective known as Dogme 95 with a group of other filmmakers. The collective agreed to make films following certain rules, such as using only hand held cameras and shooting only on location.
The year von Trier won the Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, he almost did not attend the ceremony. He has so many phobias, he could only make the trip in a specially outfitted trailer.
Steven Spielberg offered him the chance to direct a film in America after he saw Europa (1991) but von Trier turned the script down.
He was awarded UNICEF's 'Cinema for Peace Award' at the 2004 Berlinale (Berlin International Film Festival). He got the award because almost all of his films deal with subjects like mercy and ethics.
He was scheduled to direct the four operas of Wagner's Ring at the 2006 edition of the Bayreuth Festival in Germany, but withdrew from the project in 2004 and stated through the festival that he felt that it would exceed his powers and that he did not feel able to fulfil his own ambitions.
Has never visited the US.
Added the "von" to his birth name (Lars Trier) as an homage to director Josef von Sternberg.
Udo Kier is the godfather of his daughter Agnes.
Has said that one of his favourite films is The Philadelphia Story (1940).
Many famous directors and actors have shown their appreciation of von Trier's work. Quentin Tarantino mentions Von Trier's Dogville (2003) as his idea of the best manuscript ever written, Paul Thomas Anderson said he would "carry Lars von Trier's luggage anywhere", Martin Scorsese has Breaking the Waves (1996) listed on his top 10 films of the 90s and Johnny Depp recently said this in a Danish film magazine: "Tell von Trier I'm waiting for an offer, when he is ready, so am I".
Was declared 'persona non grata' at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival after claiming to understand Adolph Hitler and joking about being a Nazi at the official press conference for his competition film, Melancholia (2011). In October 2011, five months after the festival, von Trier declared that he would refrain from all future public statements and interviews as a result of the controversy.
He has directed three actresses to the Best Actress Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Björk for Dancer in the Dark (2000), Charlotte Gainsbourg for Antichrist (2009) and Kirsten Dunst for Melancholia (2011).
Directed one Oscar nominated performance: Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves (1996).
After speaking on a public appearance from Lars Von Trier at the University of Copenhagen, film and media studies, 22/11-06, he expressed interest in making a horror film. It is apparently under development. [November 2006]
He was due in 2007 to begin work on a horror movie, Antichrist, which postulates the Earth was created by Satan rather than God. However, it was reported in May 2007 that he was suffering from depression and might cease film-making altogether. [May 2007]

Personal Quotes (19)

A film should be like a rock in the shoe.
Basically, I'm afraid of everything in life, except filmmaking.
I don't think I tortured Nicole on Dogville (2003), but I know she said I was tough.
My films are about ideals that clash with the world. Every time it's a man in the lead, they have forgotten about the ideals. And everytime it's a woman in the lead, they take the ideals all the way.
If his creation is so great, why does God want us on our knees?
Put my American trilogy together and you'll have one hell of a grim evening. And you will not be entertained at all!
There are a lot of Americans I sympathise with very much, but not the Government right now, no. We just do not agree on politics, but that's not being Anti-American. I am critical about a country with a system that allows so many losers. I think that is wrong.
American studios give money to directors to educate them away from their creative fingerprint, even if that's the reason they wanted them in the first place. I've avoided that fate by making movies here. You have to fight the urge to do a big action movie. You avoid 'Batman.' The bigger it is, the worse it is.
Since I have said I am 60% American I can say there is one thing that kills any debate - an American disease called political correctness, which is a fear of talking ... What makes me a little bit sad is that there's an American TV show in which the president of the US is black. People say, 'Oh look, that's OK, there's a black president on TV.' That's completely humiliating because that's not how it is. There's no black president. Political correctness kills discussion.
A big part of our lives has to do with America. In our country it is overwhelming. I feel there could just as well be an American military presence in Denmark. We are a nation under a very bad influence, because I think Bush is an asshole and doing a lot of really stupid things. America is sitting on the world and therefore I am making films about it. I'd say 60% of the things I have experienced in my life are American, so in fact I am an American. But I can't go there and vote. That's why I am making films about America.
"Jeg er et sted ligenu hvor det roder mere end det plejer" ("I am at a place right now, where it's more messy than usual" - When asked about his mental state.
Jeg er vel ligesom alle andre mennesker. Jeg er glad for priser - Men de gør mig ikke lykkelig" (I am like all other people. I am pleased with prizes, but they don't make me happy) [when asked what the prizes his movies won meant to him]
Forget all the excuses, 'the childish fascination' and 'the all embracing humility', for this is my confession, black on white: I, Lars von Trier, am but a simple masturbator of the silver screen.
I think it's a very strange question that I have to excuse myself [for writing and directing Antichrist]. I don't feel that. You are all my guests, it's not the other way around. (At the Cannes Festival Press Conference when asked to explain and justify why he made Antichrist (2009))
I would say that I am a poor Christian, I'm not a believer. It was this idea very early in my life that life on earth, nature or man could not be a creation of a merciful God.
I am the best film director in the world. [following the screening of Antichrist (2009) at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival]
I want to be surrounded by porn people who love me for what I am, who say, 'Where do you want the erection, where do you want the penetration?' Where it's not complicated.
[press conference at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, following the screening of Melancholia (2011)] I really wanted to be a Jew and then I found out I was really a Nazi, you know, because my family was German, which also gave me some pleasure. [Hitler] did some wrong things, absolutely, but I can see him sitting in his bunker at the end. He's not what you call a good guy, but I understand much about him and I sympathize with him.
Everything is going to Hell, but we should smile all the way.

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