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Monday, May 21, 2018

Lars von Trier's film provokes vomiting and fainting in Cannes

Por Nina

Seven years after being declared "persona non grata" at the Cannes Film Festival, the Danish Lars Von Trier returned to the contest out of competition with a violent film, provocative and in many points immoral, but well received despite being removed from the room to some spectators. The House that Jack Built, starring Matt Dillon and Bruno Ganz, "is largely a cartoon or is written as such,” the director warned at a meeting with international media.

Dillon embodies a serial killer, a psychopath with obsessive-compulsive disorder, who argues with a mysterious Verge (Ganz), whose identity gives no clues, about their actions and motivations. The protagonist sees each murder as a work of art, and Von Trier tells the story from his point of view and takes advantage of that approach to reflect on creation or death.

"It's refreshing to have a character who can do everything, go in almost all the scenes against his own good and that nothing happens to him," said the filmmaker, vetoed at the festival since in 2011 he affirmed during the presentation of Melancholia that he understood Hitler. "Nobody understands anyone, but I can see a man who is in the shit, and understand that this is part of life, instead of making him a monster, see how close we all are to being serial killers. The idea of course is that we must control ourselves and that civilization and democracy should help us," clarified the filmmaker.

"Why did the festival let this movie in?" Asks on Twitter Ramin Setoodeh of the American magazine Variety. Other newspapers, such as The Guardian or The Telegraph, collect the different reactions of the viewers who left the screening. "Vomitive, disgusting, pathetic, vile" are some of the adjectives that are read. At the same time, in the face of the indignation of those who reject the work of Danish, you can already read dozens of comments on social networks that claim not to see the time for the film to be released. And half of the room that had remained in the seats honored Von Trier with a six-minute ovation at the end of the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The rage of those who attack the filmmaker focuses on some sequences of extreme violence against children and animals. The film continues for several decades to a serial killer who mutilates and strangles his victims, mainly women. Von Trier's camera is so explicit that the director of Cannes, Thierry Frémaux, acknowledged that the subject was "so controversial" that it could only appear outside the official competition. Dillon is present at the event along with the filmmaker. On the other hand, other actors, such as Riley Keough and Uma Thurman, did not attend for "agenda reasons". After the screening, a few already suspect that the real reason was another.

Among the many reflections launched in this latest film comes to describe as "iconic" the German attack aircraft of the Second World War, but, aware that his words are analyzed to the millimeter, asked not to take them out of context. "Of course it is a provocation," added Von Trier, who admitted to having made a very personal film, almost a "testament" to his 62 years, with references to previous works. Dillon found it difficult to embark; worried that he might reject himself when he saw himself on the screen. But they could have the desire to put themselves at the orders of "a great artist", from whom he had received good references. "I decided because I think it's good to feel uncomfortable, to start thinking that you know everything is dangerous," he added on a paper that brought him home crying more than a day. Uma Thurman, one of the many victims of a character who acts with coldness and acid humor, acts in the film and gets violence to a secondary level at times.

Overcoming the crisis with his return, the director says he feels well received in this 71st edition and arrive "more humble". "In part thanks to the program I follow against my problem with alcohol, which teaches you to take advantage of the moment," confessed Von Trier, Palme d'Or for Dancing in the Dark (2000) and author of films such as Dogville (2003) or Antichrist (2009). The House that Jack Built, divided into five chapters closed by an epilogue, was one of the most anticipated films this year, and was at the height, with scenes of violence very explicit. "If everyone likes it, you have failed," said the director, who considered, in jest, that being selected out of competition is "part of the punishment" for his exit tone.