Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Barbara Sukowa, Jean-Marc Barr, Udo Kier, Ernst-Hugo Järegård, Erik Mørk
Director: Lars von Trier
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Praised as one of the top films of the year, ZENTROPA is an erotic, passionate thriller delivering nonstop, suspense-filled excitement. In this Hitchcock-like tale, Leo Kessler, an American visiting devastated postwar Germ... more »
Von Trier's Weird Nightmare on the Zentropa Railway.
G. Merritt | Boulder, CO | 10/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""You will now listen to my voice . . . On the count of ten you will be in Europa."
While perhaps best known for his Dogme 95 films Breaking the Waves (1996), The Idiots (Idioterne) (1998), and Dancer in the Dark (2000), Academy Award-nominated Danish film director, Lars von Trier, is also celebrated for his "Europe trilogy" of films: The Element of Crime (Forbrydelsens element) (1984), Epidemic (1987), and Europa (1991) (originally released as Zentropa in the U.S. to avoid marketing confusion with the film Europa Europa). Featuring an international ensemble cast including Jean-Marc Barr, Fassbinder protégés Barbara Sukowa (Berlin Alexanderplatz) and Udo Kier, expatriate American, Eddie Constantine, Max von Sydow and Ernst-Hugo Järegård, Europa tells the surreal story of an American pacifist, Leopold Kessler (Barr), determined to "show some kindness" to the German people after WWII. Kessler finds work as a sleeping car conductor for the Zentropa railway network in 1945 postwar Frankfurt, falls in love with the railway magnate's daughter, and soon becomes entangled in a pro-Nazi terrorist conspiracy. What makes Europa such a unique experience in film is von Trier's use of crisp black-and-white visuals combined with occasional uses of color, a technique later used in Schindler's List, and the actors' interactions with rear-projected footage. These techniques give Europa a truly weird, nightmare-like quality.
The Criterion edition of Europa features a newly restored high-definition digital transfer; audio commentary featuring director Lars von Trier and producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen (in Danish, with English subtitles); "The Making of Europa" (1991), a documentary following the film from storyboarding to production; "Trier's Element" (1991), a documentary featuring an interview with von Trier, and footage from the set and Europa's Cannes premiere and press conference; "Anecdotes from Europa" (2005), a short documentary featuring interviews with film historian Peter Schepelern, actor Jean-Marc Barr, producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen, assistant director Tómas Gislason, co-writer Niels Vørsel, and prop master Peter Grant; 2005 interviews with cinematographer Henning Bendtsen, composer Joachim Holbek, costume designer Manon Rasmussen, film-school teacher Mogens Rukov, editor/director Tómas Gislason, producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen, art director Peter Grant, actor Michael Simpson, production manager Per Arman, actor Ole Ernst; a conversation with Lars von Trier from 2005, in which the director speaks about the "Europa" trilogy; "Europa--The Faecal Location" (2005), a short film by Gislason; and a booklet featuring a new essay by critic Howard Hampton. Highly recommended.
This is how movies are made...
Nikolaj Hawaleschka | Denmark, Europe | 05/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Zentropa" (or "Europa" as it is called in Europe) marks the end of Lars von Trier's (the director) Europe-trilogy, which started in 1986 with "The Element of Crime" followed by "Epedemic". "Zentropa" is a real film-noir in Hitchkock style. The movie, like the rest of the Europe-trilogy, was a co-production between Lars von Trier and Niels Vørsel; both great screenwriters.The thing which is so special about "Zentropa" are: 1) It is made without ANY digital effects. 2) It is shoot in B/W. 3) All importent elements in the movie have colour (a thing Spielberg stole from Trier, when he made "Schientlers List"). 4) It has a great story. 5) It is a Trier film.The cinematography is great, so is the acting; especially Max von S. is great. Also notice that Lars von Trier himself has a small role.If you want to know more about this film, you should read the book "Lars von Triers elements". If you are just looking for some saturdaynight entertaintment...this is not what you want. However if you want so see a quality movie in world class, this is a modern classic... Don't miss it."
M. DALTON | Brisbane, Queensland Australia | 07/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Surely one of the GREATEST directors of all time, this is his masterpiece. Armed with the most hypnotic narration I've ever heard & an extraordinarily abstract form, the story is constantly propelled forward by Max Von Sydow's unmistakable voice. Along with DANCER IN THE DARK, DOGVILLE & BREAKING THE WAVES, ZENTROPA is an unforgettable journey. Please plead with this film's distributor to give it the beautiful widescreen DVD release it deserves....."
Brilliant Artistic and Enigmatic Tale of a Broken Europe...
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 10/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The voice of Max von Sydow hypnotizes the audience by stating, "You will now listen to my voice..." as he continuous to count to ten, which pulls the viewer into a nightmarish dream. Simultaneously the opening shot of railroad tracks is flashing by, which visually puts the viewer in a trance as the screen turns black. This beginning incites the audience participation as the film definitely requires a high level of cognitive participation, unlike most films made where the story is driven by the scripted dialogue. Zentropa becomes a visual and aural journey that mesmerizes the audience in a highly artistic manner.
Comparisons have been made with David Lynch's Eraserhead (1977), Hitchcock's Notorious (1946), and the director Wim Wender's cinematic creations. Despite the previous comparisons, Lars von Trier creates a unique cinematic experience that could be compared to an artistic and political journey into the aftermath of World War II. Cities lay in ruin and people suffer from starvation as the artery, the railroads of Zentropa, of the recovering Europa continues its exploitation of the people as it carted off millions to a certain death in the Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau during the war. This creates a tense Machiavellian atmosphere where fear, paranoia, and anxiety have a firm grip of the people. This causes most people to alienate themselves from society.
The cinematic journey begins with German-American Leopold Kessler (Jean-Marc Barr) who departs United States after the end of World War II for Germany. When Leopold arrives to the shattered Germany he is greeted by Uncle Kessler (Ernst-Hugo Järegård) who gets him a job as a train conductor on one of the luxurious sleeping-cars of Zentropa. Through work Leopold meet Katharina Hartmann (Barbara Sukowa), the daughter of the owner of Zentropa, with whom he falls in love. However, Leopold's desire for Katharina drags him into a dangerous affair of terrorism, politics, friendship, and murder.
The pacifist Leopold tries to balance his life through abstention of politics, avoidance, not choosing sides, and minding his own business, which is also suggested by his Uncle Kessler. However, no matter how hard Leopold tries to follow his own policy he is forced into situations where he must choose a side as it would otherwise have a catastrophic affect on the people for which he cares. Eventually Leopold finds out the hard way that choices must be made based on his own conscious.
Lars von Trier plays with the visuals throughout the film as a painter would with a new innovative color that would revolutionize art forms. The film is shot in black and white with occasional insertions of color, which enhances the cinematic importance of moment. Von Trier also uses trick photography and double exposures in order to artistically magnify the shot, which creates personalized imprints in the audience's cinematic experience. Ultimately, von Trier pushes the envelop as his message is decoded through his brilliant enigmatic tale of a broken Europe where unity is the sole answer for the continent."