I’d just watched Lars von Trier’s “The Boss of It All” (it
opens locally May 25), which is almost Capraesque in its idealism and optimism,
at least compared to the Danish director's other perversely nihilistic, black comic works. So I
was surprised to learn that the notorious eccentric and prankster had suffered
a paralyzing bout of depression so bad that he might quit directing.
It reminds me of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s announcing his retirement from
filmmaking back in 1995. Except most people believed him.
Turns out he was so true to his resolution that he dropped dead shortly afterwards of a heart attack.
Von Trier, however, is another story. Peter Bradshaw in his
"Guardian" blog expresses doubts. He also points out his reservations about Von
Trier’s claims that he shot “Boss” in “Automatovision,” without a cameraman and
totally by computer, accounting for its jerky, jump-cutting narrative. Von
Trier also claims that the continuity mistakes one can spot in the film
actually are a hidden code. Maybe that code will explain whether this
depression is real or not, or what it means. Or maybe it’s all a bunch of crap.
Publicity, perhaps, for his next project, “Antichrist,” in
which he ponders the possibility that the creator of the world is not God, but
Satan. (So the world might be a Von Trier production?)
“I assume ‘Antichrist'
will be my next movie,” Von Trier says. “But right now I don’t know.”
Too bad Frank Capra isn’t alive to fill in.