Interviews: Henning Bendtsen, Cinematographer; Joachim Holbek,Composer; Manon Rasmussen, Costume Designer; Mogens Rukov, Film Educator; Tomas Gislason, Editor; Peter Aalbaek Jensen, Producer, Peter Grant, Art Director; Michael Simpson, Actor; Per Arman, Production Manager; Ole Ernst, Actor
Highlights - Europa Trilogy Conversation With Lars von Trier, Director - 2005
Audio Commentary: Lars Von Trier, Director; Peter Aalbaek Jensen, Producer
New York Times - 05/22/1992
"...[Von Trier is] fearless in showing off his cinematic know-how....Powerfully played by [Sukowa]..."
USA Today - 07/22/1992
"...A comic-fantasy nightmare of the wickedest kind. It utilizes high-tech mixed media, audacious rear projection and shifts in pigment..." -- 3 1/2 out of 4 stars
Film Comment - 09/01/1991
"...The movie conceals its trump cards smartly, then plays them to full dramatic effect....It is a splendid movie..."
Los Angeles Times - 07/17/1992
"...It's innovative in its technique....Von Trier works up an inky, hermetic nightmare universe that is visually eloquent..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 07/03/1992
"...Striking and visually beautiful..."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2002
Film Comment - 11/01/2008
"Lars von Trier's first big splash was this lucid-dreamt 1991 ride deep into the heart of postwar guilt."
Entertainment Weekly - 12/19/2008
"It's one part CASABLANCA, two parts ERASERHEAD, and all parts excellent." -- Grade: A
Lars von Trier's bizarre yarn concerns Leopold Kessler (Jean-Marc Barr), a German American who becomes involved in a surreal nightmare in postwar Germany. Leopold travels to Germany in order to help restore the ravaged countryside. His uncle (Ernst-Hugo Jaregard) gets him a job as a sleeping-car conductor with a giant railway complex called Zentropa. On his first day, Leopold is seduced by Katharina Hartmann (Barbara Sukowa), who just so happens to be the daughter of Zentropa's owner. Leopold blindly falls for Katharina, unaware that she is about to draw him into a maze of suspense and intrigue involving pro-Nazi terrorists.
Opening with a hypnotizing image of rolling train tracks and a somber voice-over by Max Von Sydow, ZENTROPA unfolds calculatedly and ambiguously. Von Trier employs a series of ingenious technical tricks, using rear projection as well as cutting between color and black-and-white, in order to give his film a dazzling visual presentation. The result is a mysterious thriller that will beg for a second viewing once the final credits have rolled.
Description by Image Entertainment:
"You will now listen to my voice...On the count of ten you will be in Europa..." So begins Max von Sydow's opening narration to Lars von Trier's hypnotic Europa (known in the U.S. as Zentropa), a fever dream in which American pacifist Leopold Kessler (Jean-Marc Barr) stumbles into a job as a sleeping-car conductor for the Zentropa railways in a Kafkaesque 1945 postwar Frankfurt. With its gorgeous black-and-white and color imagery and meticulously recreated (if then nightmarishly deconstructed) costumes and sets, Europa is one of the great Danish filmmaker's weirdest and most wonderful works, a runaway train ride to an oddly futuristic past.
ZENTROPA is an alluring film that follows a German-American pacifist as he travels to Germany to help the country rebuild. Working on the railway Zentropa, he becomes involved with the daughter of the railway owner, who lures him into becoming a pawn in a pro-Nazi terrorist scheme. Lars von Trier's stylish thriller features hypnotic narration by the legendary Max von Sydow and is filmed with a variety of inventive visual techniques, resulting in another truly original motion picture.
Theatrical Release |
World War II
Disappointed that his film didn't win the Cannes Film Festival's prestigious Palme d'Or, von Trier took a jab at jury president Roman Polanski by thanking "the midget" when he accepted the Grand Jury Prize.