7.6/10
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64 user 61 critic

Europa (1991)

Trailer
1:19 | Trailer
Just after W.W.II, an American takes a railway job in Germany, but finds his position politically sensitive with various people trying to use him.

Director:

Lars von Trier
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18 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean-Marc Barr ... Leopold Kessler
Barbara Sukowa ... Katharina Hartmann
Udo Kier ... Lawrence Hartmann
Ernst-Hugo Järegård ... Uncle Kessler
Erik Mørk Erik Mørk ... Pater
Jørgen Reenberg Jørgen Reenberg ... Max Hartmann
Henning Jensen ... Siggy
Eddie Constantine ... Colonel Harris
Max von Sydow ... Narrator (voice)
Benny Poulsen Benny Poulsen ... Steleman
Erno Müller Erno Müller ... Seifert
Dietrich Kuhlbrodt Dietrich Kuhlbrodt ... Inspector
Michael Phillip Simpson Michael Phillip Simpson ... Robins
Holger Perfort Holger Perfort ... Mr. Ravenstein
Anne Werner Thomsen Anne Werner Thomsen ... Mrs. Ravenstein
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Storyline

An American of German descent arrives in post-war Germany 1945. His uncle gets him a job on the Zentropa train line as a sleeping car conductor. The American's wish is to be neutral to the ongoing purges of loyalists by the Allied forces and do what he can to help a hurting country, but he finds himself being used by both the Americans and the influential family that owns the railroad. After falling in love with the railroad magnate's daughter, he finds that he can't remain neutral and must make some difficult choices. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for scenes of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The final film in Lars von Trier's 'Europa' trilogy which illuminates the traumas of Europe in the future. The two other parts are The Element of Crime (1984) and Epidemic (1987). See more »

Quotes

Lawrence Hartmann: Mr. Kessler, did you know that many factories in Germany were owned by Americans during the war?
See more »


Soundtracks

Variation on a theme by Bernard Herrmann's score for the film 'Vertigo'
(Vertigo (1958))
See more »

User Reviews

Another utterly dazzling film from von Trier.
1 April 1999 | by akimballSee all my reviews

Zentropa is another von Trier film that manages to tell an authentically interesting story, revel in its own aesthetic beauty, and engage us in questions of metaphysics. The films narration, as described above, sets the gauntlet very high. The often tired flashback/hypnotism/relapse/etc structure poses a certain disaster to most of the films that dare to use it. However, it is pulled off masterfully.

With Zentropa, we must first buy into the introduction. We prepare ourselves to relive these moments, and allow the film to justify its use of this down the tracks. However, we learn very quickly that what we have been sold is not the standard omniscient perspective. It is distorted and fragmented; emotion has been poured on too thick at parts, while in others it is spread too thin. We must accept the story directly from a mind that we considerably mistrust.

The rest of the film tirelessly reconstructs the scenes of this deranged mind. We transition from b&w film, to color. From a nearly mystical hope, to an absurd pessimism. Time moves too slowly, but abruptly jumps ahead too quickly. von Trier understands the architecture of this 'hypnotic' state supremely.

The movie progresses sporadically which is mandatory given the structure. von Trier plays wonderfully with the noir genre, he throws in some espionage, some sex, love, hats and guns. Finally, he skillfully introduces issues of morality, war, and responsibility- adding a rich political dimension to an already layered film.

The final scenes are visually the most beautiful in the movie, and some of my all time personal favorites. The quiet, tenseless moments in this sequence finally allow us to sink into a comfortable pace and an agreeable aesthetic.

Ultimately, von Trier has framed this film around a giant question of reality. As is his standard. The fact that this metaphysical dimension continually impinges upon the film, justifies its validity. The question was artfully asked. And beneath this works a noir film, a veritable feast of imagery, and wonderful performances.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

27 June 1991 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Zentropa See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

DKK28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,447, 25 May 1992

Gross USA:

$1,007,001

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,007,939
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Black and White | Color (Pathécolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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