My feelings for Lars Von Trier's work run deep for many reasons. Firstly, I love fucked up movies, oh yes, the more disturbing the better; my favourite movies are probably Antichrist and The Sound of Music (a nun, turned nanny, turned singer on a mountain? fucked up genius). Having suffered from depression like Lars, I adore his visual interpretations of the illness played out in many forms surrounded by a darkness which he laces into the even the most joyous of moments. But mostly I am forever captivated by the way he can take something seemingly innocent and happy: a wedding, an act of kindness, a child or love, and slowly undress and destroy it right before our eyes revealing its true nature - as if you were dating someone too good to be true then you find out he's one of those adult nappy wearers, shocking. So I thought I would write a little list of some of the wonderful life lessons we can learn from Lars through his work in the hope that we won't end up dead, losing a body part or more emotionally scarred than a woman hired by a Silvio Berlusconi.
Sex is good, oh - hang on
Is it? I don't know, not according to Charlotte Gainsbourg in my beloved Antichrist. It was about the worst decision of her life to get it on with husband William Dafoe and put a load of washing on while her infant son wondered out onto a balcony and fell to his death just as the washing and the couple finished their load. While in Nymphomaniac Gainsbourg's addiction to humping left her life and fanny in ruins, literally. Keep it in your pants.
Women have all the power
Indeed they do in many ways in Von Trier movies, yet their 'power' is normally masking a disorder or a past hurt. Beautiful bride Kristen Dunst and new hubby Alexander Skarsgard (my FAVourite), was hanging off her every word at their wedding reception, begging her to make love to him post drinks (can't saying fucking here), only to be left rejected in his socks. Kirsten decided to shag a guy on the lawn and sent Alexander packing the same evening due to her mental illness. While Kristen's mother played by Charlotte Rampling also managed to piss everyone off at the reception by saying it wouldn't last. Unfortunatly she was startlingly accurate: women rule.
Never judge a book by its cover
Fuck no. Possibly one of Larss' biggest messages present in many of his movies; that nice guy who wouldn't hurt a fly? Yeah he would, and he probably eats them. Take your pick from Stellan Skarsgard getting his wanger out while a sleeping Charlotte Gainsbourg had just bared her to soul to him in Nymphomaniac, wanker, or the utter bastard neighbour of Bjork in the jawdroppingly brilliant Dancer in the dark as he steals her life's savings front in her of blind eyes. She was saving the money for an operation to save her son from the same fate, and her neighbour was a cop. I get angry just thinking about it!
Don't mess with Mothers
As Gainsbourg mourned the death of her son in Antichrist she decided to hack off her husband's cock in a twisted attempt to remove the tool that added to her guilt, while in Nymphomaniac nothing could stop her from getting a festive spanking on Christmas day. Choosing the pain over her family cost her her marriage and family, still, she decided that all she wanted for Christmas was an S&M dominator. Possibly the hardest of all Von Trier's mother figures though is played by Bjork in Dancer in the dark: the woman is blind and working in a sheet metal factory in order to provide for her son - beat that guys, oh you can't.
The grass isn't greener
Poor Nicole Kidman thought she had found salivation in the quiet town of Dogville after escaping from her mobster father only to find herself a prisoner and sex slave in no time at all - they say it's the quiet ones. In the sequel movie Manderlay, her character Grace yet again thought she could help and trust the people of Manderlay by viewing them helpless and in need of her input into plantation life, unfortunately for her, they were pretty happy as they were and turned on her yet again. I think after the second movie, Grace just went home and embraced good old gangster life.
Sometimes love just ain't enough
Stuck up in Scotland Emily Watson falls head over heels in love with a young and hunky Norwegian oil rig worker played by Stellan again in retro flick, Breaking the waves. When Jan whacks his head on the rig, he tells Emily that it's fine for her to sleep with other guys while he's recovering. She works her way around the community in order to please him believing her actions to be 'alright with God' and keeping Jan alive. There is no happy ending for Emily, just a few 'labels' and her self-destruction while Jan miraculously recovers. WOW. Shia Labeouf took Charlotte Gainsborgh's virginity in Nymphomaniac and remained the one man she felt more than aroused for throughout her life. They married and had a child but even a gorgeous looking Labeouf complete with roll-neck sweater and slicked back hair, didn't prove enough for Charlotte as she left him at home while she hunted down orgasms elsewhere with his consent. Charming.