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Lars Von Trier: A key and a hook

I know that there is some time passed and Nymphomaniac is not news anymore but I wanted to watch the movie first and some previous von Trier movies that I skipped, as well, before I wrote this article. Well, working in newspapers I see one superficial system of processing and interpreting waves after waves of news, since there is tons of information and we are all slaves of novelties that always must stay within borders of actuality. But I will work at my own pace. Deadlines are good sometimes. They can build up your work ethics but in a hurry of always being actual you may also lose your perspective and be just one of the informational runners that have no time for deeper judgments.
There is some artists, like Bjork in music or von Trier in movies, that people simply love or hate. Polarized opinions are fruit of artist uncompromising individuality. We may or may not like looking at the world through other peoples eyes and the language that the artist use may also not be familiar to us. Slavoj Žižek, Slovenian philosopher and critic, reveal to me in 2006 documentary “The pervert’s guide to Cinema” the key to a betters understanding of one of my favorite directors David Lynch. You have my recommendation for this documentary. It is not only about David Lynch. So, every author is locked gate, and if you have a key you will enter garden, and, yet, depending on the time of your arrival it will be day or night, or garden may be full of flowers or weeds. And you may love it there or hate it.
One of the usual themes of von Trier movies are psychoanalysis. “Europa” starts with hypnotic voice of a therapist narrator, “Antichrist” is all about psycho sessions gone wrong. And why is that? Lars is very open in his interviews. He is in the mess of battling deep depression and always in one or another type of psychotherapy. He is very open about his life also. If we start with a stereotypical Freudian question: “Tell me something about your mother” Lars will answers, as he usually do in interviews: “That cold bitch!” So there is no wonder that the key of better understanding of von Trier angst is in his relationship with his mother.
So… his mother Inger, being a committed communist, believed that imposing a discipline on a children is slowing down the social progress. He was given freedom to do what he want and express himself the way he wanted. He was making movies from the age of eleven. And little Lars hated school, that disgusting place with with so many rules, even more then his peers because of his libertarian, almost anarchist early childhood. But with that freedom there was also the lack of emotion around him. Inger was not emphatical. Probably, in my opinion, seeing being emotional to her son as bourgeoisie weakness. He said there was not much space in his family for “feelings, religion or enjoyment”. And that is the reason why he called her “cold”. Another thing… His family were nudists. Nothing unhealthy regarding sexuality there, but more regards goes to the atmosphere of openness, of realm where nothing is hidden. Take out the clamps of small minded philistine society and be free. But don’t speak about your emotions, little Lars. Apart from that there is no lies, little Lars.
His father, Ulf Trier, was a non-religious Jew and Social Democrat. That was part of his identity. But in 1989 on her deathbed his mother Inger confess that his biological father was another man, Fritz Michael Hartmann, with whom she had little thing and that little thing become little Lars. Harmann comes from a line of Catholic classical musicians and Inger indicated that his biological father should be credited for Lars “artistic genes”. Bottom line: Ulf is not his father but Fritz. Off goes the illusion of life without lies. And that is the reason why he called her “bitch”.
He met Fritz, but it didn’t go well. They disliked each other instantly.
In his shuttered identity he converted in Catholicism. To be closer to his gene pool. But he had an anarchist upbringing and that rebellion against his dead mother was futile. He was not meant to be a good Catholic.
So now we see all the frequent themes in von Trier movies. He grow up without discipline, and there we see why media called him “enfant terrible”. For his understandable spirit of rebellion. Then, nudism from early childhood and explicit images in his movies. Then, religion. Is he atheist, Jew or Catholic? There is always some cold hearted woman in his movies. Atmosphere of living in a world of lies. Search for who he is, artistically and personally, that lead him to depression and to psychotherapy.
I heard several times opinions like: “With “Europa” he showed that he can do it. Now he can do whatever he wants.” But I don’t think so. There is an progress and personal reflection. Problems that he encounter in his movies, in this times of crises and social degradation, to some might look unrealistic, fabricated, hipster-like problems of spoiled brat but he is talented man that is telling his story. HIS story. And the story doesn’t have to address all the humanity.
If you have the key, open the gate and enter. Or just throw the key away. It is up to you.


Foto del profilo di Marko Jevtić
Autore:  In: Cinema, HD
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