David Jenkins



Jason Ngai

Lars von Trier: ‘I know how to kill’

The Danish devil talks about murder, movies and his sensational new film The House That Jack Built.

Strangling is, according to the pathologist, a good way to go. It takes only 10 seconds before you faint. Then you hold on for a bit longer and then you’re dead. There’s only very little pressure you need to apply. Just stop the anterior arteries. You can do with two fingers. If you can make the victim stand still.

If they want it to happen to them, which you suggest with this film sometimes people do. Maybe unknowingly.

Yes, almost. But doing death on film isn’t that exciting for me. It’s lots of special effects. You have to do it right though. The small boy who is shot is all done on a computer.

You’re planning to do a film called Etudes where you look at different types of dramatic situations. You’ve said that you think it will be a happy process. Have you ever thought a film would be happy and then it ended up not being like that?

Dancer in the Dark. It was not so fun. I enjoyed making Dogville, very much. Even though there were 10 lions around me all the time. There was Ben Gazzara and Lauren Bacall. Everybody. As I said to Ben Gazzara, I can’t direct you because I’m a very big fan.

Quentin Tarantino is a big fan of yours, especially Dogville. He said it should have won the Pulitzer Prize. Have you seen any of his recent films?


He made films called The Hateful Eight and Django: Unchained which feel like they were inspired by Dogville and Manderlay.

Okay, good. No, but I have this principle where I’m trying not to see modern films. I have my little treasure chest filled with films that were made before I started to make films. That’s where I navigate from. If I see new films, and get excited by something, I follow it. Then I get excited by something else, and follow it in a different direction. A lot of people follow trends. I’m trying to make the films that are missing. Or that I feel are missing.

Is there any part of you that wishes you could forget the films you saw in your youth?

That would have been interesting, though a little strange. When I was at university we saw four films a day. Everybody hoped that when the equipment got so cheap and that you could film on your telephone, that there would be an explosion of creativity. But I don’t really know if it’s there. What would you say?

There are interesting things out there, but maybe nothing comparable to the Dogme films. You’re still out there on your own.

Haha. I was born to be alone.

The House that Jack Built is released on 14 December. Read the LWLies Recommends review.

Published 13 Dec 2018

Tags: Lars von Trier Matt Dillon

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