Caught @ Cannes: Matteo Garrone, Bi Gan’s semi-3D trip, plus Lars Von Trier’s… ‘autobiography’?

Posted on May 18, 2018

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Read the full article on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/cannes-2018-the-house-that-jack-built-dogman-baradwaj-rangan/

In The House That Jack Built, Lars Von Trier comes closest to an autobiography. In an interview published in University Post, the director said, “My opinion is that if you can think it, you should be able to show it.” And the film, set in 1970s USA, is about a serial killer (Jack, played by Matt Dillon) whose motto might well be: “If you can think it, you should be able to do it.” Think this is a stretch? Here’s an actual line from the film: “Some people say that the atrocities we commit in fiction are those we cannot commit in a controlled civilization.”  Sounds like a confession to me! You won’t have to go very far to find people who put Von Trier’s movies on par with serial killings — only, what’s massacred is the mind. Note the title, too — it’s about an act of creation. (Jack builds a house. Von Trier builds a movie.) And wait! Jack suffers from OCD, a condition Von Trier has admitted afflicts him.

Watching a Von Trier movie is like submitting yourself to a psychological test. Are you the kind that can watch a duckling (or a woman, or a child) being mutilated? If yes, then what kind of human being are you? They say great art makes you question things. I can’t think of a bigger question than that. What does it say about me when I laugh at the line, “It struck me like lightning from the sky. I couldn’t help running the little lady over?” Of course, fiction distances things — I’d be horrified if I saw Jack run a little lady over in real life. But still. The killings are interspersed with pensées — about, say, why men are always considered guilty and women always the victim. And Jack’s “artistry” is constantly juxtaposed with the work of other artists: Glenn Gould playing Bach on the piano; the makers of cathedrals with pointed arches; a bit about the greatness of Albert Speer, Hitler’s chief architect. (Clearly, the fact that he was banned from Cannes after his sympathetic remarks on Hitler doesn’t bother Von Trier.)

Continued at the link above.

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