Interview with Lars von Trier, part 2

In which Lars von Trier explains which fox to trust:

PK: The fox I heard came to you in a shamanistic journey? Is that true?

LV: (laughs) That's right. Yes I did from time to time these shamanistic things. It's a very long story, but it had to do with someone from my family being in the hospital, and was dying, and then I read somewhere that by means of these shamans in Brazilian tribes, you could kind of travel for another person. And that is what I did for my family member, who was very fond of foxes. So I went to talk to some foxes. And then there was this interesting thing that was not in the film, and that is that the first the first fox I met behaved like the one in the film, but afterwards, I met some other foxes, and they said, ‘never trust the first fox you meet.'

PK: Meaning the one that said "chaos reigns," right? So which fox do you trust?

LV: (laughs) I trust the one with the chaos.

PK: Did you know that that phrase is becoming a kind of catch-phrase?

LV: Yes. I saw something on YouTube that looked very funny, yes. Great.

PK: Somebody online also suggested that you can market the three beggars as like merchandised toys or something like that. Has anything like that ever occurred to you? Like having merchandised figures out of those creatures, of the three beggars, the fox and the deer, and the-is it a raven or a crow?

LV: Yeah it is supposed to be a crow but we could only get a raven. (laughs)

PK: Yeah. Edgar Allan Poe reference there, right? Because it is despair, right?

LV: Yeah.

PK: Is it true that there's a video game of this movie?

LV: It doesn't exist yet but I know that they're working on something.

PK: Who's working on it?

LV: Um, not me. You know when I make a film it's quite important that people see the original, and then what they do with it afterwards I can't control. So I'm, no, I wouldn't work on the game.

PK: It seems like a kind of difficult game, I would imagine. A lot of that stuff you don't want to do at home.

LV: Yes.

PK: There are a number of films that have been coming out lately-and this probably is remote to your filmmaking, but there's a film coming out that's called "2012," there's another one called "Legion," there's "The Road;" there seems to be like a lot of films about the end of the world and the apocalypse. Do you think your film draws on that kind of zeitgeist?

LV: "Zeitgeist," yeah. Probably. But I remember a lot of films about the end of the world earlier, also. During another period. The disaster films. And I can only say that this film ["Planet Melancholia"] that what I am going to do is going to be the real end. Nobody is going to survive, you know. Normally there's a couple of people that will survive in a cave somewhere. Not in my film. No no no.

PK: You did a film similar to that, "Epidemic," a while ago.

LV: Oh yeah that's right. It must be zeitgeist. But that's zeitgeist from some time ago.

PK: Yeah. But is it going to be your last film? If you wipe out the entire human race, will you go on from there? A fresh start?

LV: Yeah, you can say that. But you have to start with these little-it's something called "stromatolites" [?]. These little bacteria form that live for three billion years.These special kind of bacteria. If you went there with a camera to film, it would have taken you three billion years to get just a little action.

PK: And then you'd probably regret it, too. I think that three or four of your last films have been set in America, but you've never traveled to this country. What is the reason for that?

LV: First of all because I'm afraid of travelling and the travels I've done have not been very successful. To me, you know, 80% of the films that I like and that I've seen have been American. So to me, America, since I have not been there, is some kind of a ‘film-land,' you know. So I can do almost what I want to because I don't know the place. I think the next one will not be in America, but of course for a film to be marketable it must be in English or American, I'm just not comfortable with setting it in a country with a different language.

PK: And it's usually in the Northwest, too. The Pacific Northwest.

LV: Yes. That's because somebody told me that it could look like Scandinavia.

PK: With "Twin Peaks," that wasn't in the Northwest, was it? That was one of your favorite movies, or, TV shows.

LV: Oh yeah, I believe it was. Or maybe it wasn't.

PK: One of the prizes that the film received at Cannes was kind of ironic. It was the "anti-prize" from the Ecumenical jury. Do they actually give you some sort of trophy for that?

LV: No, I didn't even know about that, but I'm proud to win it.

PK: I thought it was a bit hypocritical because the head of the jury was somebody who worked with Marco Ferreri, who had done "The Last Woman," which involved Gerard Depardieu in a scene similar to one in your movie. Why do you think people get so worked up about your film, but that one I don't recall having so much controversy attached to it?

LV: That was in another time, you know. There was a lot of nudity and violence and ecstasy in the seventies, wasn't there?

PK: Would you have preferred to make movies back then? There seemed to be a more open, creative, atmosphere for filmmakers all over the world, including the United States.

LV: No, I would say that the only trick I have up my sleeve is to take something from back then and show it today. So no no, if I had done it then, I would have disappeared, you know.

PK: The film that's coming out here around Halloween, do you have a similar holiday in Denmark?

LV: We are getting more and more Halloween.

PK: "Saw VI" is opening the same week. I've described Antichrist as "Saw VI" as directed by Carl Dreyer. Is that accurate?

LV: Yeah, very precise.

PK: Do you think of this as an artier kind of slasher film?

LV: I would always be proud that any film that Carl Dreyer would have made I would have liked to be compared to. I believe these films, are they something called torture-porn? They are torture-porn. Well it's nothing I watch myself, you know, the torture-porn, but I like to mix different ingredients from different genres into a film. I don't have a kind of moral thing about torture-porn or porn altogether. I believe that anything you can imagine you could show. But of course I have children also. But in principle I think you can show anything....

PK: I was surprised to learn that you converted to Catholicism in 1995? Do you still practice that?

LV: No. I converted because I was a-religious before and after some years you tend to be more and more like your mother and father, and they were atheists by belief, so I'm a poor Catholic.

PK: But do you believe in redemption?

LV: Ah, that's a long question. Yes, let's say.

PK: Oh, what a relief! Happy Halloween!

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