American Study of von Trier

NEW BOOK. Lars von Trier may be the foremost living auteur in contemporary Scandinavian cinema. A restless and fiendishly playful director, his films continue to attract condemnation and praise. A new book provides an in-depth study of the divisive director's career.

Like his coming apocalyptic science fiction film "Melancholia", expected to premier in May, Lars von Trier's career has been one of constant exploration and reinvention. Professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University Linda Badley takes a tour through his far-reaching production, beginning with his student films and ending at "Antichrist", with emphasis on his most recent work.

Badley argues that the director has cultivated an insistently transnational cinema, drawing inspiration from the European avant-garde to American genre films.

Similar to her stylistically eclectic subject, Badley draws on a range of cultural references and critical approaches to shed light on the director's works from multiple angles. She incorporates interviews with von Trier himself and attempts to penetrate the bustle that has become a fixture of the director's career.

The book entitled simply "Lars von Trier" should appeal equally to an academic audience and non-specialists with an interest in the subject. A range of theoretical approaches are invoked, but put forward in a fairly straightforward prose.

Linda Badley's study is part of "Contemporary Film Directors", a series of publications aiming to broaden the awareness of important artists working in cinema. Contributors to the series include an array of internationally respected critics and scholars.

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Former actor in "The Idiots", Knud Romer, visited von Trier while he was finishing "Antichrist". Read the interview A Hearse Heading Home.

Read about von Trier's career in our Danish Film History.