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A film director and a script writer (performed by Lars von Trier and Niels Vørsel themselves) write a screenplay, in which an epidemic spreads about the whole world. Like the protagonist they do not notice, that a real epidemic is developing around them. Written by
Fredrik Klasson <email@example.com>
"Epidemic" is, at its heart of hearts, a movie about making movies. As such it challenges the relation between fiction and reality. The two are not statically established realms, self contained in their clearly contained functional domains but they are dynamically interacting at all levels and at all times. The result is a movie in which the narrative structure is dual and of a meandering nature, climaxing in what could be a merge between a programmed project that involves human intellectual intervention- the movie within the movie- and the outbreak of a natural phenomenon with its catastrophic consequences- the epidemic.
Styllistically, "Epidemic" is very much a Lars Trier movie and it shows. From the apparently disconnected flow of scenes to mix of gritty realism with allegory, the director imprints his very personal mark in all elements of "Epidemic". Its very structure attests to this and the imagery reflects it in a very overt manner. "Epidemic" seems to be a playing ground of sorts in which Lars von Trier experiments as much as possible and in trying different things creates a diverse mismatch of scenes that not always work completely well together although they create an atmosphere.
As the process of coalescence between "fiction" and "reality" (this reality being, of course, fictional in itself which adds another layer of complexity and challenges the very notion of the third and fourth walls) heightens the narrative frame shrinks from the stage that is Europe to a small room. The claustrophobia of the later phase of the movie bring the full impact of the plague to the viewer's attention via a limited sample of the population that permits a personal experience of it all.
Much like Bergman's "The Seventh Seal", the plague in question is to be read on many levels and very much like the Swedish director's movie, "Epidemic" is not for everyone. Those who find it interesting, however, may have a strangely riveting experience upon watching this clearly unconventional movie that pushes many borders even if does not do so in a completely coherent manner.
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