Lars von Trier: biography of the Danish director

Full name Lars von Trier
Occupation Director, screenwriter
Age (date of birth) 04.30.1956
Height/Weight 170 cm
Official web-site
Facebook Link
Twitter Fan page

Lars von Trier is one of the most unique and controversial directors to ever exist in the global cinematic space. “Breaking the Waves”, “Nymphomaniac” is an example of the highest art and unprecedented frankness, because of which the director is hated no less than loved. A pornographer, a provocateur, a misogynist, the director himself without any hesitation adds the word “great” to these epithets.

Early years

Lars, the only son of Ulf and Inger Trier, was born on April 30, 1956 in Copenhagen. The parents of the future director raised their son, trying to instill in him the ideals of freedom. A social democrat and a staunch communist practiced nudism, but they did not impose their way of life on little Lars, teaching him to always make his own choice. Free education caused Lars to be expelled from school for refusing to follow the established rules, so he received his primary education on his own.

According to the director himself, cinema has always been his passion. In 1969, Lars starred in the family film The Secret Summer by young director Thomas Winding. Lars was only 12 years old, but he realized that he was more interested in the process of making movies than participating in them as an actor. For several years, Lars, thanks to the patronage of his uncle, who was a well-known documentary filmmaker, did odd jobs at the Danish Film Institute.

In 1979, Lars entered the National Danish Film School, presenting to the examination jury his first short films, shot with an amateur camera, once given to him by his mother. The years of study at the film school were not the easiest in the life of Trier, to whom his mother, dying, revealed the truth about his origin. The biological father of the director was not Ulf at all, but a German actor. Lars was especially indignant at the fact that the “legal” father always knew that he was not raising his son. The future director for a long time could not come to terms with such injustice.

Trier’s statement that if you can’t control events, then you should come up with a world in which you can build the desired order of things belongs to this period. The taste of Lars, who will soon be called a cursed poet and world-class genius, was influenced by the paintings of Martin Scorsese and John Cassavetes, but he considered Andrei Tarkovsky his idol. Having added an aristocratic “background” to his surname, Lars shocked everyone, appearing at classes either in black leather and a Nazi cap, or in high-heeled shoes and with bright makeup. After making several short films and writing a novel that no one dared to print, Lars set about creating his first feature film.

Carier start

Element of Crime was released in 1984 and immediately earned the stigma of “a film not for everyone.” The crime drama was filmed at night in the city’s sewer tunnels, giving it a sophisticated yellow color scheme. Startling the public, the stylized neo-noir about the investigation of a detective who identifies himself as a killer won the Technical Commission Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. An interesting fact is that, having removed the picture, Lars went with her to his idol, Tarkovsky, who was horrified by what he saw, which amused the 28-year-old director a lot.

Von Trier presented his next work in 1987, and it was named the worst film of the year. In the deliberately sleazy horror drama Epidemic, Lars played the role of an idealistic hero trying to save the world from an epidemic, but at the same time spreading the plague virus around the planet. The master of horror Udo Kier played in the tape. Their first joint work marked the beginning of not only cooperation, but also a long friendship.

In 1991, a black-and-white tour of post-war Germany “Europe” was the completion of a trilogy, which included the first two tapes. In Europe, the director used revolutionary techniques such as mirror reflections and deformations.

Lars von Trier

Lars von Trier: films with the effect of shock therapy

In 1991, the Danish provocateur, as the director was dubbed in the media, began work on the multi-part project Kingdom. Ratings of the series became a record not only in Europe but also in the United States. However, the real triumph was yet to come.

The film “Breaking the Waves”, which appeared to the world in 1996, became the first in the trilogy “Heart of Gold”, named after Lars’ favorite fairy tale about a girl with a heart of gold who gave all her goodness to strangers. Shortly after the wedding, the main character’s husband has an accident and remains alive, but immobilized. To heal her beloved, the girl sacrifices herself, giving herself to the first men she meets. After her death, her husband miraculously recovers. The main roles were played by Emily Watson and then unknown Stellan Skarsgård. The daring plot and cathartic denouement against the backdrop of 70s rock earned an incredible number of film awards, including the Cannes Grand Prix.

  • Selected filmography
  • “Idiots” (1998)
  • “Dancing in the Dark” (2000)
  • “Dogville” (2003)
  • “Antichrist” (2009)
  • “Melancholia” (2011)
  • “Nymphomaniac” (2013)

Read: The best films of Lars von Trier.

The house that Jack built

After the success of “Nymphomaniac”, although it had a scandalous character, the master stopped his silence, refused alcohol and drugs, through which he tried to drown out the insult, as it seemed to him, unfairly inflicted on him in Cannes. In 2018, he presented a painting that he had been working on for 2 years.

Hot off the press…

Опубликовано Lars von Trier Пятница, 17 июня 2016 г.

The film “The House That Jack Built” was planned to be shot in the format of a series, but later Lars changed his mind and shot a film lasting 155 minutes. In the horror drama, the role of a maniac engineer was played by Matt Dillon. The engineer dreamed of becoming an architect, he is trying to build a house by the lake, but he ceases to like the idea, and he completely surrenders to his favorite hobby – murder. The irony of the picture lies in the fact that no one is looking for Jack during his long career, and he begins to tritely tease the police, but, despite this, everyone remains indifferent. No one notices even the corpse tied to the car, leaving behind a bloody streak. Excellent acting by Matt Dillon, a grandiose epilogue, provocative revelations and a sharp satirical note that makes fun of people’s indifference both to each other and to themselves, made the picture an event of the movie season. The House was screened at Cannes, where von Trier was invited for the first time since the 2011 scandal.

Lars von Trier

The picture received mixed reviews, it was called ambiguous and controversial, but how could it be otherwise? It is pointless to meet any creation of the master with specific expectations, because he will deceive them anyway.

The thriller starred Riley Keough, Sophie Grobel, and Shavon Fallon, the role of one of the victims, who practically put the jack into Jack’s hands, with which he killed her, was played by Uma Thurman.

Personal life

Lars von trier

Marriage with director Cecilia Holbeck lasted almost 8 years and broke up due to Lars’s passion for the teacher of his eldest daughter, Bente Frege.

In 1996, when Lars’ second daughter was only a few months old, he divorced and married Benta, who gave him twin sons. This marriage lasted until early 2016.

It is known that the director has been in a relationship since 2017, but he prefers not to name his chosen one. Trier does not much like unnecessary talk. He, as it should be for a respected man of his age, does not sit on social networks. No Instagram, no Twitter. Only Facebook.

In the same 2017, Björk accused a certain Danish director of harassment. Of all the likely candidates for this, only Lars could be, but he denied the singer’s accusations.

Lars von Trier now

The director didn’t take a vacation after completing The House That Jack Built. From an interview given by the outrageous Dane to local media, it is known that he is conducting preliminary work on a series of short films dedicated to his favorite pieces of music. The working title of the series is “Etudes”, Scandinavian actors are invited to participate in the project.

Title photo source: Golden Globe Awards

Lars von Trier: biography of the Danish director
5 (100%) 7 votes

Left a comment

Notify of