Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
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.
The third and last installment in Lars von Trier's trilogy with the same name as this last film, Europa. To be honest, I don't get the high ratings for this movie, I'm just probably not a von Trier guy, at least not so far. Hopefully I'll like his newer films better. I think I even liked The Element of Crime more than this.
It's a black and white film, but is sometimes shifting to colors. It has interesting dialogue, I'm really impressed by the editing and some of the scenes where even disturbing. I really like movies set in World War 2, but I guess Lars von Trier is too deep for me, maybe? Pretty forgettable to me..
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.
With its noir-influenced and insanely overwrought visual style and hypnotist voice-over, Lars von Trier's Europa is certainly ambitious, but it unfortunately revels in empty stylistic flourishes for the sake of base effect than any kind of deliberate, probing point. These indulgences nearly cause the film to collapse in on itself, the over-abundance of gimmicky (albeit gorgeous) renderings of classic expressionism overwhelming any sense of profundity, emotional impact, or narrative drive the film attempts to cultivate. It doesn't help that several of the performances come off as stilted and uncomfortable, especially those of actors attempting to play Americans.
Largely enjoyable spoof/homage/rip-off of immediate post-war noir from von Trier. Occasionally (and inevitable) it's a little too smug for its' own good but the opaque plot still holds the interest, as do a parade of genre-savvy character turns, some dazzling imagery and the hallucinatory narration.
Extremely beautiful, well made. Still brings the usual cruelty and coldness of Von Trier's cinema...Von Sidow narration makes it all odder.
A spellbinding odyssey into the human mind... a beautiful blurring of reality and fantasy. Easily Lars von Trier's best work.
Un film très original, dans son traitement et dans la forme qu'il propose, typique du cinéaste danois. Sa plus grande force est de plonger le spectateur dans son film des les premières secondes à travers un magnifique prologue, sans doute l'un des meilleurs qu'il m'ait été donné de voir, et de nous assimiler au personnage principal par l'intermédiaire d'une voix off extérieure omniprésente. Esthétiquement, le film navigue de manière assez déstabilisante entre noir et blanc et couleur et propose une photographie très travaillée, avec des mouvements de caméra somptueux, symptomatique de son cinéma "pré dogme95". Les acteurs sont excellents, le scénario un peu confus aux trois quarts du film mais cela n'empêche pas l'appréciation de l'oeuvre. J'ai par ailleurs beaucoup…
I liked it just as much as EoC and much more than Epidemic. Can't wait to finally break into Trier's more emotional ground.
One of von Trier's more accessible films. I really loved the hypnotic narration at the beginning of this film and the experimental use of color melded with black and white.
Europa is a visual beauty, but it comes at the expense of it's story and acting, the actors feel like at times they are reading of the script and seem emotionless and this is coming from a film that has some spectacular actors like Udo Kier, Max von Sydow and Eddie Constantine to name a few.
The biggest problem with Europa is it's disorganized, what is the plot here? Why should I care about Leopold Kessler? Frankly, why should I care about any of these characters? The biggest problem with this film is the characters are kind of bland and forgettable except for the Narrator played by von Sydow and the Colonel played by Eddie Constantine.
Lars Von Trier is an occasionally frustrating director, but there is nothing frustrating about Europa.
As a director and a craftsman, Trier throws the kitchen sink into his visual grab bag. Black and white images melt into each other, front and rear projections wobble and quake, characters glide through frames both hypnotic and caustic, and violence erupts with beautiful results.
It may sound like an overstatement, but Trier takes cinematic form and stands it on its head with great effect.
A big collection of films that might be considered as strange, mindfucking, surreal and weird. Sorted by year. Suggestions are…
Many favorites, as well as a small handful of films that I don't care for... in no particular order (1960-2014).