Tuesday, May 15, 2007

 

Danish Director Lars Von Trier talks to BBC about his depression


The Price of Cynicism – Danish Director Lars Von Trier talks to BBC about his depression

One of the great joys I’ve experienced as a film journalist these past fourteen years is the time spent watching, critiquing and debating the challenging work of Danish film artist Lars Von Trier. While I don’t consider every Von Trier film successful, in fact, I still scratch my head over his comedy “The Idiots,” I do consider “Breaking the Waves” and “Dancer in the Dark” as extraordinary and all of them worth seeing, if only to witness the world cinema’s most artful and intentionally political mind at work. Von Trier’s film movement, the “Dogme” principle and its pure filmmaking free of props, lighting and sound editing, continues to be an artistic force, one that has outlived its controversy.
In a May 13 news report to the BBC, Von Trier (pictured left) reports that his next film, the horror movie “Antichrist,” which depicts Satan as the creator of the world, may be postponed due to his current battle with depression. The 51-year-old filmmaker confirms a hospital stay earlier in the year and describes his depression as an ongoing battle. True to his bad-boy reputation, this report could be a staged gag by Von Trier but I'm guessing it's real.
Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery, although I can’t say I’m surprised by the news. Von Trier is an artist provocateur, a worldly cynic unabashed about his negative feelings on the state of the world and its political future. His storytelling is honest, often to the point of being bleak and I wonder if his artistic anger has taken a toll on his senses.
More so than his famous phobia about traveling by plane or boat, Von Trier’s anger and solemn outlook has impacted his health.
The artist who suffers for his craft is a timeless cliché, but still somewhat true. As Von Trier suffers for his craft, I’d like to add my voice to the chorus of supporters. There are few film masters left in contemporary cinema and Von Trier’s absence, no matter how long, will be felt.

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