[Skip to Content]

Lars von Trier

b. 1956. The Danish film director Lars von Trier with the motto: "film should be like a stone in your shoe", makes deeply personal and technically brilliant films with an international appeal.

Lars von TrierIn 1995 Trier was among the film directors who took the initiative to form the Dogma 95 manifesto which challenged all the established cinematic "rules" and drew international attention to Danish film. Trier clearly demonstrated his talent already when making hiscontroversial graduation film Befrielsesbilleder (1982, Images of a Relief) about the last days of the Occupation.

His breakthrough came with the English-language The Element of Crime (1984), a hypnotic crime story from a Europe in decline. It was the first part of his European trilogy and was followed by the self-reflecting Epidemic (1987) about a film that never came to anything, and the grandiose international production Europa or Zentropa (1991), set in Germany in 1945.

For television, Trier has directed Euripedes' Medea (1987), freely adapted from Carl Th. Dreyer's posthumous manuscript, and the television series Riget and Riget II (The Kingdom and The Kingdom II, 1994 and 1997), a metaphysical thriller made like a soap opera in a hospital environment.

With Riget Trier for the first time engaged with the public at large, and he continued to do this in his "Gold Heart" trilogy: beginning with Breaking the Waves (1996), a compulsive melodrama whose main elements are sex and religion; followed by the radical Dogme film Idioterne (1998, The Idiots) which defies most film conventions in its depiction of a group of young people playing retarded; and finally ending with the modern musical Dancer in the Dark (2000) which featured the Islandic singer Björk in the lead role and won the Golden Palms in Cannes that same year.

Furthermore, Trier was prime mover in the interactive D-dag (2000, D-Day) project inviting television viewers to edit their own version of a story shot in four different versions in the hour preceding the turn of the millennium and broadcast simultanously on 1st January 2000 on six television channels. Trier has also made advertising films and music videos and since 1991 he has been working on a "filmic monument" called Dimension, a work of fiction of which he is filming a little bit every year until the première planned for 2025. Trier's film (Dogville) participated in the Cannes Film Festival in 2003.


Eva Jørholt, Gyldendal Leksikon

read more about great danes