Erik Nietzsche is an intelligent but in many ways inexperienced shy young man who is convinced that he wants to be a film director. In the late 1970s, Erik is accepted by the Danish ... See full summary »
Erik Nietzsche is an intelligent but in many ways inexperienced shy young man who is convinced that he wants to be a film director. In the late 1970s, Erik is accepted by the Danish National Film School where he enters a world of angry and unhelpful tutors, weird fellow students and unwritten rules. In this both exhilarating and angst-provoking period for him, Erik feels increasingly like a foreigner in the film industry. Frequently, he is merely an observer of the absurdities that surround him. He encounters trade union disputes, falls in love and experiences self-assured empowered women who refuse to make a commitment. The film is a drama full of comedy - a sharp portrait of a conceited but entertaining world of film which we suspect our dogged young director will eventually conquer with his vision. Written by
Lars Von Trier was a notorious infant terriblé at his Danish film school, a mini Mussolini who felt compelled from an early age to drain the swamp of traditional Danish cinema with its age old reliance on "folksy" comedies. But twenty some years later he acknowledges his own foibles with this biting but sweet satire of film school machinations and the cement-headed teachers and state-employed film "consultants" that arbitrarily provide the funds and subsidies the small and always hard-pressed industry lives by here. But his alter ego, Erik is no cynical critic or ultra-ambitious manipulator, but instead a naive youth, unwilling or unable to conspire in order to get ahead - something Von Trier apparently never found distasteful or problematic. Von Trier has always been fueled by an ambiguity, his need to both elevate and castigate women, his knowledge of having to live in a world of fools and his remorse for his monumental sense of superiority. This need to have his cake and want to eat it too has caused him near paralytic depression at times, and this jolly film was a marvelous but brief elevator of his many mood swings. See it. Enjoy it. Though not directed by Von Trier, the film's production values are superb. Film students will love this film as they will think Von Trier is describing everyone in their world but them.
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