8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Absolute work of genius,
This review is from: Lars Von Trier's E-Trilogy - Element Of Crime / Epidemic / Europa - Subtitled [DVD] (DVD)There really aren't that many people who can be said to have totally altered the way we perceive film as an art form but Lars Von Trier is one such man. That may sound like pseudo-artsy bull but anyone who's seen any of his films would agree. The films in this trilogy cross so many genres and visual styles in such a stunning and idiosyncratic fashion that it is virtually impossible to actually describe them. Quite simply, you have to watch them. I'll have a go at describing the basics though:
Element Of Crime plays like a beautiful cross between The Maltese Falcon and Apocalypse Now as Elphick's hero gradually becomes immersed in a deranged world of vice and utterly deranged goings-on. There are dozens of cinephile in-jokes within the film (like the fact that some shots are set up to deliberatly resemble scenes from The Maltese Falcon) and if you get these you can feel very smug with yourself for knowing a bit of film, that said I've probably missed loads myself and I'm none the worse for it, it's still great entertainment. Some truly brilliant visuals, especially the scenes on the beach and with the butchery in the river. All in all a pretty staggering breakthrough into the world of cinema.
Epidemic is a totally different film, made on a tiny budget with almost no cast whatsoever. The great use of colour in Element Of Crime is replaced with a stark black & white which sets off the depressing, pessimistic mood very aptly. The word 'Epidemic' appearing in the top-left corner of the screen when typed into a typewriter and staying there for the entire duration of the film is an indication of the almost documentary feel some of the film has. Again it's apocalyptic, again great visuals (and a truly excellent use of real-life hypnosis-enduced screaming by some poor woman they managed to manipulate into believing she was living through a plague). About time this was seen in the UK, thank-you Tartan.
Europa is simply one of the best films ever made, it surpasses the other two just on the sheer weight of its genius. The visual effect of layered back projection which permeates the entire film is like watching several Hitchcock backdrops overlapping into something totally cohesive and mesmerizingly deep. The use of colour and black & white on the screen at the same time (for instance a character will enter in colour onto a screen in black & white, another character will move past them, off screen, and then re-appear in the next frame in colour as well, by which time the initial character might be black & white again) is done with such subtlety and ingenuity that it never becomes confusing or straining on vision but is always stunning. There has never been a film that looks like Europa. The narration by Max Von Sydow is perfectly paced and truly eerie, especially when over the train-track and drowning scenes. The continual feel that this is about the war and war guilt but yet not really about either comes from Von Trier's own family experiences and makes for a unique vision. Along with Werckmeister Harmoniak by Bela Tarr this is the greatest piece of visual cinema to be produced in decades.
The extras are ridiculously excessive, with more documentaries than you could shake several sticks at but this is not a bad thing, on the contrary, more is more. Some very interesting stuff about how they made the films (Europa took three years to make and you can see why, all those storyboards!) and some very good interviews with all involved.
Great films, great extras, great release by Tartan. If only more people would buy this and stop saying Jaws is the best movie ever made.
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Initial post: 5 Dec 2011 20:22:22 GMT
Hello, since it is more difficult in Germany to get the movies, it makes me wonder:
Are in the UK version German soundtracks included ? Thank you.
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