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Response to Goodheart (Original post)

Wed Mar 17, 2021, 01:49 PM

9. Some of Lars Von Trier's work

Antichrist, Nymphomaniac and The House that Jack Built. Von Trier has proven he knows better when he made a masterpiece called Melancholia. When Antichrist was released, it was genuinely explicit and shocking for its time, and to be fair there was at least a semblance of a point. But his work has really become an assault on the viewer--it is like he is saying, "If you like my work, I really despise you, just wait and see what I'm going to make you sit through this time..." The anger comes from his in-your-face "I'm going to make you watch this actress castrate this actor in spite of the fact my film has already made its point. I'm never going to make a beautiful film like Melancholia again. That was an aberration; I'm back to depravity."

It's not that his work isn't meaningful. It's also that what he thinks is shocking in 2018 is really old hat, because I guess he missed the horror porn of the last 15 years, with remakes of The Hills Have Eyes, I Spit on Your Grave and Last House on the Left (not to mention the Hostel series). And right in his own European backyard we had the "New French Extremity" with films like Martyrs, Frontieres, Inside and High Tension.

So he's behind the times in terms of what is "shocking" and most of what he argues in his films has been better-argued by other filmmakers.

I respectfully admit that Mulholland Drive is on my list of best films ever, and probably my favorite since probably Scorsese's Casino (which is not to say there haven't been great, great movies since Mulholland Drive). It's not that difficult to understand compared to something like Inland Empire. David Lynch's "difficult" films are almost always about the inner turmoil and extreme pathology that is produced in a person who attempts to conceal the truth about something momentous from himself or herself: Twin Peaks, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive and (as far as I can discern) Inland Empire are all about this one theme. Blue Velvet is almost like the stepping stone to Lynch arriving at that as a theme he wished to explore for the next 20 years.

One of the greatest things Roger Ebert ever did was have that huge open discussion of Mulholland Drive. I think he even taught a college-level course on that film. I participated and he published my interpretation--but I bring this up not because of that: the important part is that almost everybody, no matter how much they said they didn't understand the movie--pretty much did get it. The answers were pretty much the same ballpark.

Twenty years later, I wonder if modern audiences would still be so confused over the meaning of Mulholland Drive. I see real signs of progress, for example when listening to Millennials interpret something like Black Swan and arrive fairly quickly at a conclusion like "You know, I think the two ballerinas are actually the same girl." I don't think they'd struggle that much with Mulholland Drive.

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Goodheart Mar 2021 OP
PoliticAverse Mar 2021 #1
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shenmue Mar 2021 #50
rickyhall Mar 2021 #7
Goodheart Mar 2021 #8
Harker Mar 2021 #13
LineReply Some of Lars Von Trier's work
Mike 03 Mar 2021 #9
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