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Lars von Trier

In search of new forms of expression


- “I don’t see other people’s films, but make the films that I myself would like to see”

Lars von Trier

Video: Nicole and Lars

“I make films that I’d like to see, and not for the pleasure of making them.” A relaxed Lars von Trier met media representatives in the sun-filled gardens of a hotel at Cap d’Antibes. The Danish director, who first won the Palme d’Or in 2000 for Dancer in the Dark, yesterday presented Dogville [+see also:
film profile
, the first part of a trilogy dedicated to America. The 2-hour 58-minute film took 9 weeks to make (15 mini DV cameras recorded the action from above plus one hand-held) followed by six months in the editing suite.
Von Trier said his goal on this project was to discover a new way of expressing himself through the medium of film that was different from the tenets of Dogma. For Lars von Trier, cinema is the reason he’s alive and he wants to make the films he’d like to see.

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How did your idea of cinema change during the making of Dogville?
“The films I’m making now are similar to what I’d like to produce over the next few years, and the next two parts of the trilogy will follow this pattern. I am curious by nature, I like to try new things although I wouldn’t call that being experimental. I’d like to see a wider horizon before me so as to explore all the possible combinations. If I were to make Dogville over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Perhaps it would be fun to make some changes but I’m happy with the result. It’s all down to character.”

What inspired or influenced you to make Dogville?
“Without a doubt Brecht. My mother was passionate about Brecht and I rediscovered him only after her death. Plus lots of other things that make up the material I use in this film. There are sources of inspiration that I recognise and others that I don’t, elements that come from the people I work with. I don’t see other people’s films, but rather lie to myself and say that it’s better that way: I can go in the direction I choose without deviating.”

How would you define your kind of cinema today?
“I’d like to describe it as the cinema of a man with a goal, an ideal. I make the films I’d like to see, and not for the pleasure of making them. However I do need the fascination that the work exerts on me; I need to prove that the things we have done really work.”

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