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Von Trier Talks Dogville Influence on Norway Massacre

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 30, 2011 at 8:51AM

Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier finds himself at the center of yet another controversy. This time his film Dogville appears to have partly inspired extremist Anders B. Breivik, who is accused of executing a killing spree that left 69 people dead in Norway, reports Hollywood Elsewhere, who quotes some of von Trier's comments in an interview with Nils Thoren of Denmark's Politiken:Breivik's Facebook page listed Dogville as his third favorite film right behind Gladiator and 300, and "even von Trier could easily discern the similarities between the carnage at Utoya and the film's ending," Thoren writes.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier finds himself at the center of yet another controversy. This time his film Dogville appears to have partly inspired extremist Anders B. Breivik, who is accused of executing a killing spree that left 69 people dead in Norway, reports Hollywood Elsewhere, who quotes some of von Trier's comments in an interview with Nils Thoren of Denmark's Politiken:

Breivik's Facebook page listed Dogville as his third favorite film right behind Gladiator and 300, and "even von Trier could easily discern the similarities between the carnage at Utoya and the film's ending," Thoren writes.
Thompson on Hollywood
Dogville, one of Von Trier's best, ends with Nicole Kidman's Grace, who's been exploited and sexually abused by Dogville's citizenry, ordering the pistols who work for her gangster dad (James Caan) to mow them all down with machine-gun fire.

"I feel badly about thinking that Dogville, which in my eyes is one of my most successful films, should have been a kind of script for him," Von Trier said. "It's horrific. My intention with Dogville was totally opposite. Namely, to ask whether we can accept a protagonist who takes revenge on the entire village. And here I take the absolute distance from revenge. It's a way to nuance the protagonist and our feelings and perhaps even uncover it, so it just is not black and white."

Von Trier's latest film Melancholia launched amid controversy at Cannes, where von Trier was named persona non grata by the festival for comments he made about being a Nazi (he talked to TOH). Magnolia gave the film an early test run in California last week.

Meanwhile, Sweden's Stieg Larsson of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fame fought his entire career against right wing ideologues such as Breivik, and wrote eloquently about it in the magazine he founded, Expo, the model for Millenium in the novels, which continues to track Breivik and his ilk. The NYTimes sees Breivik as exemplifying a new movement called the Macro-Nationalists.

[Hat Tip: Hungry Ghost.]


This article is related to: Politics, Media


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.