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Von Trier Talks Dogville Influence on Norway Massacre

by Anne Thompson
July 30, 2011 8:51 AM
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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.]

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More: Politics, Media


  • Lisa | September 10, 2011 11:16 AMReply

    "Namely, to ask whether we can accept a protagonist who takes revenge on the entire village." Geez, this is not too smart. Yes. this guy is often rambling.

    Some movies inspired violence. For ex. dozen of people died because some people got inspired by Natural Born Killers. Or lynchings happened inspired by the movie Birth of the Nation. Etc.etc. Violence needs to be shown in responsible ways. Movie is a powerful medium. I wonder if the people who got victimized because of copy cat violence decided to sue movie makers for negligent portrail of strong violence. For ex. in US when people works as clowns they are responsible to deal with baloon-twisting in such way that the children don't get bad ideas leading to accidents, etc. What about sadists watching ultra violent movies, etc? Should we spit everything for art sake? Or should we censor our own artistic expressions more

  • derek | August 1, 2011 1:37 AMReply

    Henrik Nielsen: Please explain.

  • Henrik Nielsen | July 31, 2011 12:39 PMReply

    Trier is a hypocrite.

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