Skip to main content

ZENTROPA

Denmark, 1991 (MIFF 1992)

Director: Lars von Trier

Zentropa, the most dazzling film seen at Cannes for years, is a trip along the twin scenic routes of myth and history. It's about a journey of illusion that provides lightning glimpses, from a darkling parallel track, of the reality-track humanity so often leaves behind — especially when rebuilding the social-politi­cal infrastructure after a world war.

The film is about the present thinly dis­guised as the past. The "Europe 1945" setting vouchsafes a continent in chaos searching for unity, just like Europe 1991 pre-federalization. And the film is also about the USA then and now. The postwar world's policeman-peace­keeper, embodied in an American hero played with goofball sweetness by Jean-Marc Barr, is a one-man walking Marshall Plan.

The tongue-in-cheek all-inclusiveness of the story and setting conveys itself to the style. Zentropa is a film so extravagantly playful that it seems like a fire-sale of postmodernist tropes. Strewn with narrative non-sequiturs and casual apocalypses, it is to postwar Europe what Twin Peaks is to small-town America. Its lexicon of visual artifices — front and back projection, colour-and-monochrome mixes, surrealist sets, Wellesian shots in which the camera threads the unthreadable — suggests that von Trier has studied every breakthrough-baroque film from Citizen Kane to Blue Velvet via Vertigo, and refused to tuck their ornate influences

See also...

THE KINGDOM

The Kingdom is more of an epic than a small screen serial-a truly macabre work of diabolical diversity with an unpredictable narra­tive, harbouring a tender ghost story at the core of its haunted ... More »

MELANCHOLIA

"A mesmerizing, visually gorgeous and often-moving alloy of family drama." - Telegraph ... From Danish agitator Lars von Trier (Antichrist, MIFF 2009) comes a compelling family drama, set against the ... More »

Heavy Heads

A minimalist black comedy about a woman whose only respite from her loneliness and despair is eliciting sexual favours from a housefly. ... D/S Helena Frank P Elisabeth Victoria Poulsen WS The ... More »

CITIES ON SPEED - CAIRO GARBAGE

Cairo Garbage ... With 10,000 tonnes of new garbage produced every day, Cairo is drowning in its own waste. Even the ‘garbage people' who for years have made a living from the discarded goods can't ... More »

FIGHTER

“Quality teen drama boasts an appealingly feisty heroine and high-energy martial arts action.” - Variety ... Aicha, the teenage daughter of conservative Turkish immigrants, lives in Copenhagen ... More »

We're Hanging By A Thread

A warning to members of pampered communities against shutting their eyes to what is going on outside their own country. Motto: Even if you take no interest in politics, be sure that politics take an ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director