Friday, June 15, 2007

Lars Von Trier sings, dances, breaks chops as always

Went to see Lars Von Trier’s latest act of provocation the other night. The Boss of It All is his first blatant comedy and, like his last few features, it lays bare the machinations of its own plot while piling nasty jokes (this time it’s the Icelandics who are cursing out the Danes) and actually following a classic comedy pattern — only to then fully fuck with it, come the the film’s end. It is a fully entertaining film and yet has an abrasive surface, with off-kilter compositions being the order of the day. I had read about the process he used to film it some months back (in which he replaced the decisions of a cinematographer with that of a computer — what appears to have been a very loopy computer). By the time I saw the picture I had forgotten what I had read, however, and just wound up enjoying how he seemed to be slicing the montage up in ribbons while placing the camera deliberately at inappropriate angles to the action; it is actually better, therefore, to not beware of the technological specifics of what he did when you see the film, it’s better to digest its plot and characters, and find out about all that after you’ve left the theater.

One of the key features of the film is its openly abusive stands towards pretentious actors (Lars has a very attraction/repulsion to theory and theoreticians over the years, and this is simply the latest manifestation). The premise has a wimpy corporate head hiring an actor to play “the boss of it all,” a character whom he has created for his staff in order to anonymously run the corporation himself (but blame all negative decisions on this mysterious “boss”). Trier’s own occasional presence on camera — he’s seen here in reflections on windows, revealing himself to be the real “boss of it all” — brought me in mind of his musical performances, which have been blissfully gathered on that repository of all insanity, YouTube. Herewith I offer for your consideration, three things I was delighted to discover — and would no doubt never have seen if not for YT (unless Trier were to suddenly die and a museum does a comprehensive retro, including the odd shards).

Lars in the “music video” for his amazing supernatural miniseries The Kingdom (my airing of scenes from the latter nearly got the Funhouse thrown off the air years and years ago, but that’s a story for another time and place….).

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And the bloopers for that amazing musical number (process is all in Trier-world!). Learn this dance, memorize it, perform it at parties!!!!
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And, finally, the thing that made me lose my freakin’ mind: Lars sings “You’re a Lady,” a very mawkish ballad that rang bells, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember where I’d heard it before. Well, if you check the composers of the song, you’ll find the name “Tony Orlando” on the publishing credit. The idea of one of my current favorite arthouse directors singing a tune written and originally warbled by one of my all-time fave lounge-act wildmen (and variety show host extraordinaire) is too beautiful to resist. For those who haven’t seen the film The Idiots (Lars only purebred Dogma creation), I should note that the film concerns a group of normal wiseasses who pretend to be retarded in order to shock those they meet, a “social experiment” and, natch, “act of provocation” to outrage everyone they meet.

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1 comment:

scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.