Lars Von Trier is at it again. This time he brings us perhaps his most provocative title yet. And, there I was thinking that Anti-Christ was a doozy back when that one launched. On top of it all, the perennial public mess of a director is bound to put his foot in his mouth at some prestigious festival this season as well.
Just not at Cannes, apparently.
From his odd expression of Nazi sympathies a couple of seasons back to his demonstration of less than capable debate skills vs. a loud mouth journalist previous to that episode, I think Mr. Trier (Mr. Von Trier?) is at any rate, really trying hard to be controversial. Oh, was that obvious? I didn’t know. There is some well placed “speculation” that the film was not at Cannes due to his removal from the festival in the past, but festival officials stated that he had simply missed the deadline. I suppose either could be true, but if Trier’s team does one thing right, it’s getting people to talk about Trier.
Personally, I’m a fan of his films, for the most part. And, as I’ve been saying for ages, tastefully crafted sexually explicit material is just dying to make a splash on the big screen. In an age where grotesque violence of the worst possible kind is proudly displayed, that sexuality, especially here in the good ol’ US of A, is still a mainstream “taboo” is just preposterous. Clearly the pornographers are absolute crap at making anything worth watching, at least from a creative perspective. Hopefully Mr. Trier is grown up enough to tackle the subject matter in a way that doesn’t instantly degenerate into a silly excuse to show people’s bits.
The teaser looks quite “Trier” like, though the music cues at the head of the marketing materials for his films are starting to feel awfully dated and ham handed. We get it, it’s serious. It’s dark. It’s Trier. In fact, I think they might have been using that ominous cue at the head of Dancer In The Dark. Nevertheless, the teaser was decidedly less provocative than the still up above that emerged after Berlin. I remember when the first reveals of “actual” intercourse taking place in the film dropped. It was a few months back, but the news did produce a plethora of celebrity centric stills of Mr. Shia Lebeouf being naked, lying around naked, lying around naked with a butterfly, lying around naked covered in some sort of viscous, dark fluid, and Shia Lebeouf having a fight with his girlfriend.
Ah the nature of celebrity. And, as a fan of Lars Von Trier films, therein lies my minor concern about the release. I think the “star power” that LeBeouf brings to the screen may ultimately end up serving as a distraction, rather than a benefit. The name will certainly get the tabloids churning. But, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe are old hats at being amazing, with richly layered performances. LeBeouf is coming off the Transformers franchise. And, I get that he wants to transform his way out of that cartoon image. I just hope he has the chops to do it.
We’ll have to see if the actor has matured enough that his skills are up to par with the story line and Trier’s vision. I, for one, think the kid just might bring it.
Be sure to check out the article and the teaser over at Variety.