Movies that are slightly off.
An American, Leopold Kessler (Jean-Marc Barr) goes to post-war Germany in 1945 to work as a railroad conductor for the Zentropa Rail Line instead of going into the Army because he feels its a more valuable thing to do for the state of the world. He meets Katharina Hartmann (Barbara Sukowa), the daughter of the railroad owner and they fall in love.
Above all else, Europa is an unforgettable movie. The look, feel, and sound of it all are lifted directly from Hollywood melodrama and film noir of the '40s and '50s, and (aside from a few moments of graphic violence and language) could feasibly trick future generations into thinking that it was made half a century before it actually was. The techniques used, though old Hollywood staples, have long since fallen out of favor and thus the reminder of how well they can be used is gleefully awe-inspiring. The only mark that this did come from Mr. anti-Hollywood himself is the theme of idealism as a detriment instead of a virtue. That dichotomy of old and new, and the overwhelming feast…
''You will now listen to my voice. My voice will help you and guide you still deeper into Europa.''
My cycle of Lars von trier revisits are proving to be an enriching exercise, not only in the new value I am placing on the man's art, but in also recognising the influences infused into his films. Like Tarkovsky fused with Hitchcock and a dash of The Third Man thrown in for good measure, Europa or Zentropa (depending on which patch of the Earth you reside in), is a confident yet boldly experimental wartime noir that draws you into it's intrigue firstly with the baritone hypnotic tones of Max von Sydow's narration and then with the astounding visual buffet that is…
Dogville is still my favorite of Von Trier's work and there's a sort of kinship between that film and this. Both have an incredibly unique and mysteriously artificial visual style that I love. Both are also rather slow and ponderous (like most of the director's films), so I think it's pretty likely that I'll come back to this in a year or so and enjoy it even more. Like many great films it clearly has layers, some of which I felt unable to fully appreciate. It's a beautiful and intriguing look at post-war Germany, and as a decided non-expert in history I greatly enjoyed not knowing where the truth ended and the fiction began.
"When I count to ten, you will be in Europa..."
Europa (released in the USA as Zentropa to avoid confusion with a film called Europa Europa) is an early work from Danish director Lars von Trier, before he'd go on to make films for which he would be accused of misogyny. A political thriller evocative of classic melodramas from the 1940s, it tells the story of an American who moves to Germany just after the end of the Second World War to work as a sleeping car conductor for a train company called Europa, in order to help with the rebuilding of the country. He falls in love with the daughter of the company's owner, and is subsequently involved in…
Europa is easily the best von Trier film I've had the pleasure of watching so far. It does so many things right it's hard to pinpoint what exactly makes it such an absorbing experience, and in the end it seems to always come down to commenting on just how brilliant the craft behind it is. It's in many ways a truly beautiful film with dazzling imagination at work but perhaps the best achievement and what really holds it together is the deeply sympathetic and yet conflicted main character von Trier created. His innocence and ideals are faced with the corruption and horrors of a collapsed country. Used and abused, his initial humanity slowly fades.
Grim and at times downright shocking but with shreds of beauty scattered throughout, Europa is an enigmatic and frequently stunning work of a director at his peak of imagination.
This is Von Trier at his most assured, most confident, most playful, most restrained.
A film that blends everything you want in a film and more into a compact and beautiful looking 110 minutes, summarising everything both good and bad about the director, this is the first film where his talent really shines - and perhaps the apex of his career so far.
This is Von Trier making a traditional musical minus the music, a noir without the stereotype, a melodrama without the ridiculous acting associated.
Super stylish and I loved that. It earns being able to be so stylish by also being extremely well written and an important story. Max Von Sydow narration was great.
What a a weird, fascinating movie...
Europa is undeniably a technical marvel. Using tons of complicated multilayered rear projection and mixing black and white and color, almost every frame is a wonder to behold.
That being said, it makes the whole thing feel very odd, which is not a bad thing, just really disorienting. It took me probably half an hour to even grasp what was happening, because I had NO idea what I was about to see. I was expecting something much less "polished" like Breaking the Waves, The Idiots, or Dancer in the Dark. But eventually I acclimatized to what was going on and was able to just watch the movie.
It's just... the story isn't that well…
I need a blu-ray version of this
I think it's fitting that with the whole Europe thing going on, I should see this as my next venture into the terrifying depths of the mind of my favourite filmmaker. I think I just wanted a good excuse to watch more von Trier, but whatever.
There are so many incredible little parts to this movie that really make you wonder about the man, what all the significance is to so many different shots/characters/lines/etc. really is profound.
It's definitely a very unique film, especially going into it with the mindset that the Depression Trilogy and "Dancer in the Dark" gave me, and the expectations I had of his style. Though, I suppose his signature handheld digital camera styling hadn't come…
Film #4 of June 2016 Scavenger Hunt
Task # 15: A film where someone is being hypnotized
In Europa, it's not really a character that's being hypnotized, but the viewer. This extremely intriguing approach catches your attention and holds it throughout this beautiful film.
This is the gth von Trier film I've seen (I'm counting Nymphomaniac as separate films and The Kingdom as a series). Each film honestly blows me away. His filmography is extremely impressive, and I honestly can't wait to watch the rest of his films.
This feels like it should've been made in the 1940's, the prime era of Film Noir. It doesn't feel like a neo-noir at all, but rather the traditional film noir. I absolutely…
Surely you have seen movies that tell their stories through a character's narration or dream, but through a character's hypnosis? Europa does just that. From the opening shot to its last, Lars von Trier manage to craft a film that experimentally bends cinema bounds and burst into an alienating experience.
Holy shit. This was a mind fuck, but in the best way possible. The shots are simply stunning and the use of colour is fascinating. Overall, definitely not my usual taste but man was this good.
I can honestly say I never thought I would watch a Lars Von Trier film that I would genuinely like without being conflicted as to how much I do. The direction is strong and competent and the cinematography, lighting and sound design are amazing. I just wish the characters were more likeable or that the story had a bit more of a pace to it.
I dug what it was going for, but at times it just felt so hokey and underwhelming. I didn't outright dislike it. Yet every time I started to come around it would do something odd or cheesy or pointless. Perhaps seeing his first two films will give this a bit more context but I'm not exactly hopeful. You can definitely see the influence it had on his later work.
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014, now updated every mid-April.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the…
UPDATED: June 23, 2016
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…