Scandinavia's foremost living auteur and the catalyst of the Dogme95 movement, Lars von Trier is arguably world cinema's most confrontational and polarizing figure. Willfully devastating audiences, he takes risks few filmmakers would conceive, mounting projects that somehow transcend the grand follies they narrowly miss becoming. Challenging conventional limitations and imposing his own rules, he restlessly reinvents the film language. The Danish director has therefore cultivated an insistently transnational cinema, taking inspiration from sources that range from the European avant-garde to American genre films. This volume provides a stimulating overview of Trier's career while focusing on the more recent work, including his controversial Gold Heart Trilogy (Breaking the Waves, The Idiots, and Dancer in the Dark), the as-yet unfinished USA Trilogy (Dogville and Manderlay), and individual projects such as the comedy The Boss of It All and the incendiary horror psychodrama Antichrist. Closely analyzing the films and their contexts, Linda Badley draws on a range of cultural references and critical approaches, including genre, gender, and cultural studies, performance theory, and trauma culture. Two revealing interviews that Trier granted during crucial stages of Antichrist's development are also included.
Linda Badley is a professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University. She is the author of Film, Horror, and the Body Fantastic and Writing Horror and the Body: The Fiction of Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Clive Barker and the coeditor of Traditions in World Cinema.
Acknowledgments ix Making the waves: cinema as performance 1 Prescient Affects: Student Films 16 Hypnotic Virtuosity: The Europe Trilogy 21 Subverting the Kingdom: Television 47 Performative Politics: Dogme95 and The Idiots 54 Performing the Feminine: Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark 69 (Up)staging the American Dream: The USA Trilogy (Minus One) 101 Comedy, Automavision, and The Boss of It All 131 Theatre of Cruelty: Antichrist (An Epilogue) 140 Interviews with lars von trier 155 Interview, September 2006 155 Interview, October 2007 167 Filmography 181 Bibliography 193 Index 207