NO PAIN NO DANE
Reluctant traveller and egomaniac, LARS VON TRIERS likes to live in his own head while invading other people’s. Cineaste TONY MCKIBBIN discusses.
That Lars von Trier all but dropped out of school from his early teens seems to make aesthetic sense. It fits with the enfant terrible persona. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever found anything I learnt at that school remotely useful.’ This helps explain his wilful provocativeness and playful refusal to obey the rules - and of course to the desire to create a few new ones, now famously falling under the rubric of Dogme.
Yet there’s also a side to Von Trier that’s very settled, even conservative. He now lives in the very house in which he was brought up, and he’s also one of cinema’s most reluctant travellers. ‘I know that I shall never be tempted to move to the United States or anywhere else. And that’s an incredibly good feeling.’ We might ask if this doesn’t cause problems in his
sort of person who goes out into society or off on some journey to look explorer. around and get inspiration that way.’ This would suggest Von Trier’s very much a Danish filmmaker, interested in exploring the world in
As he says of working on The Idiots, what was important was ‘trying asked if she’d work with him again, to get close to the actors’ anxieties and sorrow and internal conflicts’.
Paul Bettany and Nicole Kidman in Dogville (Inset: Lars von Trier)
in the Dark and now Dogville. But he and memories and experiences . . . ’ work. Not really, he says. ‘l’m not the doesn’t see himself as a chronicler of realism - more an internal
Von Trier may be obsessed with what’s in his own head, but he’s also great at getting inside everybody else’s. And actors love him. When
after Dogville, Nicole Kidman replied: ‘Like a shot.’ (Tony McKibbin)
which he was brought up, but there’s Sometimes, he says, he ‘would spend I Dogville is on selected release from Fri
more to it than that, and many of his a whole day sitting down with a couple of the actors, talking to them about their childhood and upbringing page 29.
films have been set outside his native land, most obviously Dancer
FAMILY COMEDY CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (PG) 97min 0.
At regular pOints in Steve Martin's career. he makes hugely Successful family comedies in WHICH he plays a harassed father. Parenthood and Father of the Bride I 8 2 all made SlOOm plus in the States. And now. this remake of the 1950 film strives for the same profit margins.
Martin plays Tom Baker. a US football coach who finds himself moving to a big-name Job in Chicago. while trying to keep his family under control during an ongouig crisis. His author wife Kate (Bonnie Hunt) has gone on an unexpected book tour. Snakes. dogs. frogs. vomit. eye-rolling. Jock-straps soaked in curry. exploding bOunCy castles. famin values. cute kids and Out-takes ensue. This is all fairly formulaic stuff that works with pedestrian, if mildly diverting. results.
An unexpected bonus comes in the form of an amusing cameo from an unbilled Ashton Kutcher. who unknowineg wears underwear soaked. by the naughty mites. in meat. The famin dog understandably makes a bee-line for his genitals — the accidental impressmn that he's being fellated by the family mutt is one that reverberates long after this anodyne comedy collapses into the credits. (Eddie Harrisoni I General release from Fri 73 Feb.
Another harassed dad comedy from Steve Martin
28 THE LIST 55—19 Feb 200:1
73 Feb. Trier on von Trier has (lust been published by Faber 5.‘ lb‘. 99. See review.
Sex, dreams and cinematic engagement
feces DRAMA THE DREAMERS (18) 115 min coco
Three decades on from Last Tango . . . . director Bernardo Benelucci returns to Paris for this tale of a menage-a-trois among young cinephiles. Set against the backdrop of the ‘events' of 1968. and scripted by British novelist ailbei‘t Adair. The Dreamers is above all a celebration of an era and a culture where a passionate engagement \‘lllll cinema truly mattered. Twins Isabelle iEva Greeni and Theo lLouis Garreli first meet American student Matthew IMICllétOl Plll' at a protest rally surrounding the sacking of the director of the ciiieiiiathegue — Henri Langlois. The trio bond through their shared love of imitating their screen idols and recreating scenes from their favourite films. clips from which are woven into the narrative. Much of this elegantly shot filii‘ unfolds in a rambling Parisian apartment. a suitany theatrical space. in which the three adolescents can retreat from the outside world and engage in sexual ()Xl)(Erlll‘CflIElllOli. lhe leads deliver accomplished performances. seemingly unIa/ed by the required nudity and conveying a fluctuating mix of vulnerability and exuberance. If the film itself is not as boldly provocative as some of its ardent admirers have claimed. it still evokes the spirit of an earlier. more optiii‘istic age for youthful dreaming. i’loii‘ Dawsoni I Selected release from Fri 6 l-eb.
SHORT FILM ANTHOLOGY TEN MINUTES OLDER: THE CELLO
(15) 105min on
A follow-up to Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet. this collection of short films inVites eight directors to riff on the passage of time. While the names of those involved are resoundineg impressive (BertqucCi. Figgis. S/abo. Men/cl. Denis. Schlondorff. Radford and Godardi. the results are hit and miss at best. as experimental license is allowed to take precedence over eiitertainment.
Eight times ten: Round Two
Unscrprisingly. the cream. of the crop belongs to the big guns: The Enlightenment. Volker Schlondorff's philosophical musing on the nature of time as narrated by a fly is cheekily brilliant. Vers i'Vt'incic laireDenis' fascinating chat with French philosopher Jean- Luc Nancy is gorgeously shot in cool monochrome: and with Dans le neir du temps. Jean-Luc Godard delivers a customarily playful critigue of film time and the lll‘éigO.
Yet it is C/ech (30s new wave director Jiri Men/e: who produces the most interesting segment. One Moment is an ingenious and poignant llllT‘ that condenses the life of Czech movie star Rudolf Hrusinksk into a few minutes. using clips from his on—screen career to chart his traiisformation from handsome youth to ageing actor. Sadly. the remaining films prove less inspired. offering a series of pompous and pretmitious musings that reduce the idea behind this compilation to little more than a marketing gimmick. (Jamie Russell‘i I CCA. Glasgow Thu :3 Feb and Sat 2' Feb.