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Will Lars Von Trier in his new film bash Donald Trump?

world cinema Updated: Feb 16, 2017 15:22 IST
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Lars Von Trier

Danish helmer Lars Von Trier is making a new film called The House That Jack Built mocking President Trump. Seen here, Nicole Kidman in Dogville.

Once American director Michael Moore bashed President George Bush through his fiery documentary, aptly titled Fahrenheit 9/11 - and even walked away with Cannes’ top prize, Palm dÓr. Now we have Danish helmer Lars Von Trier all set to make a film that has been inspired by the present US President, Donald Trump. The movie will have a fairy tale title, The House That Jack Built, and has on board no less an actor than Matt Dillon playing the lead. Dillion will essay a man that Von Trier’s camera will follow over a dozen years to reveal how he turns into a serial killer.

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The celebrated Danish auteur -- with such works as his very early Europa Europa, his extremely critical look at religious bigotry in Breaking the Waves, his The Idiots, where actors actually performed sex, and his equally pornographic Nymphomaniac 1 and 2 - told the media the other day: “The House That Jack Built celebrates the idea that life is evil and soulless, which is sadly proven by the recent rise of the Homo trumpus - the rat king.”

This was one of Von Trier’s rare press briefings - something which he had been wary of doing ever since his huge scandal at a media conference in Cannes 2011, following the screening of his Melancholia. He joked in the presence of tens of international journalists that he was a Hitler sympathiser. His star, Kristen Dunst, sitting next him looked at him in utter disbelief, and half the world was infuriated. Cannes had no option but to declare him persona non-grata. He was asked to leave the city. He has not gone back to Cannes since then, though the festival pardoned him the very next year.

A scene from Melancholia starring Kristen Dunst.

Von Trier - who suffers from a flying phobia that keeps him confined to the European continent - has even earlier been in the eye of the storm - sharing a kind of love-hate relationship with journalists. In one of the media conferences, when a reporter wanted to know how he could have possibly set some of his films in America (Dogville, Manderlay), he quipped: “Did they go to Morocco to make Casablanca?”

Of course, not. The 1942 Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman Casablanca - which went on to become a great, great classic, was shot in a studio in the US.

But Von Trier did not quite endear himself to the media with that quip. But he does not care. For some years after the Cannes incident, he went around with a black band across his mouth - indicating that he would no longer speak. He even wore a T-shirt with words: Persona Non-Grata.

Well, that is Mr Von Trier for you, and he will now tell us all about The House That Jack Built. Or, Trump built?

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