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The Kingdom [DVD] [1996]


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Product details

  • Actors: Ernst-Hugo Järegård, Kirsten Rolffes, Ghita Nørby, Holger Juul Hansen, Søren Pilmark
  • Directors: Lars von Trier
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Danish, Swedish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Ica
  • DVD Release Date: 27 May 2002
  • Run Time: 255 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000649GA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,298 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

DVD Special Features:

Disc 1: The Unheavenly Host (Ep1), Kingdom Come (Ep2)
Disc 2: Hark & Ye shall hear (Ep3), The Foreign Body (Ep4), The Living Dead (Ep5)
Danish with English Subtitles

From Amazon.co.uk

The Kingdom has been described as "ER meets Twin Peaks", and seldom can the standard and the surreal have met in more perfect accord. The hospital that conceals dark secrets is the premise for this riveting "soap"--seen on Danish TV in 1994--in which science and civilisation are eroded by superstition and instinct. Lars von Trier is not a director who aims to please, and the claustrophobic visuals he draws from handheld cameras and natural lighting anticipate the stripped-down film work of his Dogme 95 movement. Yet there's nothing cerebral about the goings-on here, thanks to the rich variety of characters who people the labyrinthine corridors and functional wards. The Minister's visit and the Haiti jaunt are slapstick humour worthy of the best Python sketches, and Trier is never afraid to mix the prosaic with the profound. There are wonderfully observed performances from Ernst Hugo Jaregard as chequered Swedish surgeon Stig Helmer, and Kirsten Rolffes as common-sense psychic Sigrid Drusse. These are only the first five episodes: having seen them, you'll be awaiting the remainder with impatience. This is persuasive, provocative filmmaking.

On the DVD: The Kingdom on disc has audio and visual reproduction that is authentically Trier, with English subtitles and 10 access points per episode. Each part is viewable separately or in sequence, though make sure you don't lose some of the director's amusingly offbeat postscripts. The first disc also features Tranceformer, a frank insight into the mind and movies of Lars von Trier with extracts from his features between 1984 and 95. --Richard Whitehouse

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. W. Hardy VINE VOICE on 6 Feb 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Very little I can say about this without appearing to be a one-man Lars von Trier marketing team.
I saw this purely by accident quite a while ago, and was completely bowled over by the experience. It has just about everything that you could want - hauntings, unexpected pregnancy, several unscrupulous doctors (one of them being prepared to go to extreme lengths to get his hands on a dying patient's liver), racial intolerance, and above all else, the feeling that there is something else going on that you just can't quite put your finger on. To top it all off, the only person who seems to understand what is really happening, is the guy who washes the dishes in the canteen.
I think that it's fair to say that this is not for everyone. However, if you enjoy the style of David Lynch, or indeed the other creations of Lars von Trier, then you'll get more out of this than most.
Only two complaints - why is this not on DVD; why is the second series impossible to find in any format.
Watch this and you'll be thinking about it for weeks afterwards.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Oct 2003
Format: DVD
Humour, horror, satire; a masterpiece. I absolutely love the way von Trier contrasts the relationship between the swede Dr. Helmer and his Danish colleagues. I think you poor English-speakers miss out on a lot of the subtle humour ;-) I rate it five stars, despite a few minor drawbacks:
- The English subtitle is not optional. As a scandinavian, I understand Danish and Swedish quite well, and would prefer not being disturbed by the subtitles.
- In the original TV series, von Trier appeared during the final credits of each episode. In this edition, episodes 1-2 and 3-4-5 are presented together, so three of von Triers speeches are missing.
- The sequel is not available on DVD yet. Once you've watched this one, you'll desperately want to watch The Kingdom II (1997).
- And lastly, as two of the main actors passed away after The Kingdom II, nobody knows if the story will ever be concluded, in The Kingdom III.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By AMC Casday on 8 Aug 2002
Format: DVD
I must agree with the first reviewer: this is probably not a film for everybody. It is intensely moody, sometimes it is overwhelmingly frightening, and it is also about five hours long! But in fact one of the most impressive features of 'The Kingdom' is how sophisticated the characters and situations become, and they can only develop so magnificently because of the great scale of the thing. It would be tempting to catalogue the characters and describe the situations, but it would be an injustice to attempt that. One could say in fairness, however, that one central theme of 'The Kingdom' is the erosion of the boundaries of rationality and the disctinction of the normal from the paranormal. This is played out chiefly in the plot surrounding the mournful ghost of a little girl who haunts the lifts and corridors of Rigshospital, Copenhagen, but it is clear in other cases as well.
It is only natural that a protracted exploration of that theme should be uncomfortable at times. And the film certainly has scenes that are acutely uncomfortable -- languid, grainy shots into the backlit shaft of a lift; the young patient of a botched neurosurgery covering herself and her hospital room in red paint; and the pathologist who has a diseased liver transplanted into himself so that he can conclude his oncological research by cultivating a rare tumour. This is to say nothing about the climactic birth at the end of episode 5, which must be seen to be believed. Even the humour of the film is chiefly absurd and often borders on malevolence. In a word, 'The Kingdom' is not for the squeamish.
Having said all that, 'The Kingdom' is enormously gratifying for the brilliant way it tells what can be taken, in essence, as a straightforward ghost-story. The acting is on the whole magnificent, and never bad.
Read more ›
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mr. W. Hardy VINE VOICE on 26 April 2002
Format: DVD
Very little I can say about this without appearing to be a one-man Lars von Trier marketing team.
I saw this purely by accident quite a while ago, and was completely bowled over by the experience. It has just about everything that you could want - hauntings, unexpected pregnancy, several unscrupulous doctors (one of them being prepared to go to extreme lengths to get his hands on a dying patient's liver), racial intolerance, and above all else, the feeling that there is something else going on that you just can't quite put your finger on. To top it all off, the only person who seems to understand what is really happening, is the guy who washes the dishes in the canteen.
I think that it's fair to say that this is not for everyone. However, if you enjoy the style of David Lynch, or indeed the other creations of Lars von Trier, then you'll get more out of this than most.
Watch this and you'll be thinking about it for weeks afterwards.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T K Enoksen on 4 Jan 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This film, originally made as a TV-series (broadcasted in both Norway and Denmark) is unlike anything you've seen. The only comparison would be Twin Peaks by David Lynch, with more of everything, especially black humour! Another 5-part episode has been made and has been avalaible. One of the main characters is unfortunately dead and a third sequel might therefore be difficult, even though von Trier has expressed wishes to continue this saga about the life in the main hospital of Copenhagen.
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