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GreenCine Movie Talk
Foreign
From Albania to Zaire, there's a whole world out there.
183

Lars von Trier
Topic by: dwhudson
Posted: January 5, 2004 - 3:32 AM PST
Last Reply: January 17, 2004 - 12:19 AM PST

author topic: Lars von Trier
dwhudson
post #1  on January 5, 2004 - 3:32 AM PST  
I so thoroughly enjoyed this light yet not-so-light conversation between Lars von Trier and Paul Thomas Anderson that I thought I'd post the link over here, too, as well as at GC Daily. I could just as easily have opened a topic called "Paul Thomas Anderson" since he's definitely a full half of the conversation, but somehow, the focus is on Lars von Trier. On his reluctance to come to America (though he's eager to get his opinions about it out there far and wide), on his relationship with actors (though the talk kicks off with PTA's; interestingly, Emily Watson isn't mentioned at all!) and so on.

And also because Dogville will be opening in the US sooner than anything I know about from PTA.
Eoliano
post #2  on January 6, 2004 - 3:50 PM PST  
An amusing "interview" if just a little offhanded. It is indeed very curious that no mention is made of Emily Watson, and what do you make of LVT's comment that " there are actors and there are actors. Stellan [Skårsgard] is not an actor"? It gratified me to no extent that Tarkovsky hated Element of Crime! It warmed me, to say the least.
dpowers
post #3  on January 6, 2004 - 4:02 PM PST  
i thought that comment about actors and actors was weird-funny, too. lars seemed to accept paul's understanding of it, as family, maybe an intimacy or familiarity that changes a performer into an extension of one's thinking. i had this feeling that the other kind of actor was someone whose methods were unpredictable, too strange, too interfering.
dwhudson
post #4  on January 7, 2004 - 5:04 AM PST  
That's the way I read it as well. Plus, think of how much emphasis both of them place on ensemble and a consistent emotional tone throughout the entire cast (like a family or a very tight circle of friends on their own wavelength). The environments both create must be mightily demanding emotionally as well (not that performing in films directed by others aren't, of course) and there's probably little room or time for an actor blocked by "acting" (the craft, with its tools and lessons learned and so on); someone immediately open and already tuned into the same channel is going to be much more preferable, I'd bet.
Eoliano
post #5  on January 7, 2004 - 6:43 AM PST  
As it should be, though it's rare for a director to surround himself with such a remarkable ensemble of actors, and in that, Anderson, much like Altman, certainly is fortunate. I get the feeling that Trier wants to give the impression of maintaining a detached relationship with his actors, and unlike Anderson, hasn't experienced such a close-knit family of actors. I'm not wild about LvT, and haven't thoroughly enjoyed one of his films since Breaking the Waves, but I'm definitely looking forward Dogville. What an incredible cast!

It's still remarkable that neither mentions Emily Watson.
dpowers
post #6  on January 7, 2004 - 10:15 AM PST  
both of them are in a sort of brechtian thing i think... nicole is right in there, "pushing herself." emily watson isn't blank that way. lars likes girls who look pretty with bruises and paul thomas seems near that, too
Eoliano
post #7  on January 7, 2004 - 5:42 PM PST  
> lars likes girls who look pretty with bruises and paul thomas seems near that, too

Ouch!
dpowers
post #8  on January 7, 2004 - 6:28 PM PST  
heh heh

but sadly...
dwhudson
post #9  on January 8, 2004 - 5:42 AM PST  
Ah, but it's only a recent predilection. Maybe Lars'll grow out of it? As for PTA, Lena in Punch Drunk Love was a pretty steady force who was anything but abused, wasn't she? Or at least she's not any worse off than Barry.
Eoliano
post #10  on January 8, 2004 - 9:09 AM PST  
Thankfully, and hopefully in future we'll see fewer abused and screwed-up women in PTA's films. However, I have less hope that Trier, who seems to lack a sense of humor, will shift gears anytime soon.

There are several wonderfully positive moments in Punch Drunk Love that are simply delightful, not least when Barry and Lena meet in Hawaii. --"This really looks like Hawaii."
dpowers
post #11  on January 8, 2004 - 1:34 PM PST  
it's true, i'm being mean to PTA and i haven't seen punch-drunk love yet, either. i'm way behind him.

on th'other hand, nicole has a fascinatingly stage-female presence about her. she actually could pull off playing song liling in m. butterfly.

nicole, paul, lars.

last night after the trivia contest was over i went to get a burrito nearby, on my own, and ran into members of my team. we continued joking about the blurb on the front of the DVD i'd ended up with - janice beard. "a british amelie!" says the blurb.

playing around with it somebody said australians call brits "pommies" (i guess from "pomegranate") which makes the movie "a pommy amelie!" which sounds like it could be a grammar term, pamiomoly, you know, like when a word has two distinctly different meanings, both of which are hidden behind many veils of secrecy. you look up the word in the dictionary and the listing says "no such word," but it's listed as both an adjective and a verb.

anyway while we were talking about that, rents, bartending, and how i still couldn't believe i didn't recognize blue from the clues "an accident," "repeating the punchline," "borrowing a cat," and "completing the score," i was thinking about lars and paul and i thought, is it interesting that they talked because they're both into doing these "state of the union" movies? "what does the near-european intelligentsia think of america today?"
Eoliano
post #12  on January 9, 2004 - 9:06 AM PST  
> i haven't seen punch-drunk love yet, either. i'm way behind him.

It's a little gem of a film, full of skewed humor, visual surprises, and unlike his two previous films it has only two central characters, and as a result, its more focused.

> she (kidman) actually could pull off playing song liling in m. butterfly.

Hmm, a good casting idea. What are your thoughts on Moulin Rouge?

Main Entry: Pom·my
Variant: or Pom·mie /'pä-mE/
Function: noun
Inflected Form: plural Pommies
Etymology: by shortening & alter. from pomegranate, alteration of Jimmy Grant, rhyming slang for immigrant
Date: 1912
Australian & New Zealand, usually disparaging: BRITON; especially: an English immigrant
Eoliano
post #13  on January 11, 2004 - 8:53 AM PST  
Maybe first I should ask if you've even seen Moulin Rouge yet. It certainly wasn't my cup of tea and left me squirming in my seat. I would rather have been strapped in a chair and subjected to multiple screenings of EWS!
dpowers
post #14  on January 11, 2004 - 10:23 AM PST  
i lost the lottery for moulin rouge on friday so i don't have it this weekend, but i'll definitely watch it by the end of the week and get back to you.

in the meantime i saw cold mountain last night and my assessment of ms. kidman stands. she's kind of what you want to see her as.
dwhudson
post #15  on January 12, 2004 - 1:20 AM PST  
> she's kind of what you want to see her as.

The secret of her success, no doubt. She's certainly an enigma to me. With the possible exception of Eyes Wide Shut, I haven't seen a performance that makes me slap my forehead and say, "Aha! That's why she's the star of the moment! That's why every director wants her!" But then, I haven't seen To Die For yet, evidently the breakthrough, attention-nabbing performance.

Btw, there's an interview with Lars von Trier in today's Guardian. It'd probably make more sense to snip the bits on Brecht rather than those on Nicole, but since we're talking about her...

"I know Nicole [Kidman] was completely in tune with what I was doing. I was asking her to do things in front of the camera that were pretty demanding, and she just did them. She evidently realised that a lot of thought had gone into this way of working, and that there was a point to doing it this way."

Ach... I can't resist. One tiny bit on Brecht, too:

"But Dogville is inspired by Brecht. One of the starting points was actually Pirate Jenny's song in The Threepenny Opera. I listened to that a lot and was really seduced by the great revenge motif in the song: 'And they asked me which heads should fall, and the harbour fell quiet as I answered "All".'"
dpowers
post #16  on January 12, 2004 - 10:35 AM PST  
> "She evidently realised that a lot of thought had gone into this way of working, and that there was a point to doing it this way."

ay carumba what an ego but we all have our pride don't we.
Eoliano
post #17  on January 12, 2004 - 6:04 PM PST  
Will LvT inspire a Brechtian revival? Is Mackie back in town? Will Jenny Diver be Nicole Kidman's next starring role? Is Mother Courage in her future?

The answers to these and other compelling questions, when we return after a word from our sponsors...

dpowers
post #18  on January 17, 2004 - 12:19 AM PST  
okay i saw punch-drunk love. first order of business: this movie was a big deal to people? what was it, something about the angles versus the disorientation?

second, i guess, is, PTA used emily watson as a walk-on straight man in this - the blue suit got better treatment.

oh i don't know. two famous, young, art-house directors walk into a bar...

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