This Lars Von Trier film from 2009 was one of the most controversial of the year. But did he purposely make it to shock and anger people? Most definitely. Von Trier’s ego grew to new heights with this film starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. It has yet to find a U.S. distributor and can only be seen through on-demand, online or if you have a multi-region DVD player.
The two words I would use to describe this film would have to be graphic and intense. This film is divided into four chapters, not including a prologue and epilogue. It involves just the two actors given the generic names of “He” and “She”. The story starts with the prologue shot in black and white and in slow motion. Dafoe and Gainsbourg are having sex, while their young son falls out a window to his death. The rest of the film examines the couples grief, pain, and despair. These are also the titles of three of the chapters, the other being “the three beggars” towards the end.
Animals and nature play a big role in this film and is often used as metaphor and symbolism. The last twenty minutes are intensely graphic and brutal, but is this in service to the story or just to freak people out? In a way, it can be refreshing to see the actors and directors audacity to commit such material to film. So should you see this film? That depends, how hardcore are you? I mean it’s not a great film by all means, but it is quite a spectacle. “Chaos reigns” quotes the fox.