454 Europa

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
eez28
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:51 am
Location: Houston

454 Europa

#1 Post by eez28 » Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:23 pm

Europa

Image

"You will now listen to my voice . . . On the count of ten you will be in Europa . . ." So begins Max von Sydow's opening narration to Lars von Trier’s hypnotic Europa (known in the U.S. as Zentropa), a fever dream in which American pacifist Leopold Kessler (Jean-Marc Barr) stumbles into a job as a sleeping-car conductor for the Zentropa railways in a Kafkaesque 1945 postwar Frankfurt. With its gorgeous black-and-white and color imagery and meticulously recreated (if then nightmarishly deconstructed) costumes and sets, Europa is one of the great Danish filmmaker’s weirdest and most wonderful works, a runaway train ride to an oddly futuristic past.

Special Features

- New, 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
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Howard Hampton

Criterionforum.org user rating averages


User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

#2 Post by domino harvey » Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:34 pm

The film won three awards at the Cannes Film Festival (Best Artistic Contribution, Jury Prize, and Technical Grand Prize). Upon realizing that he had not won the Palme d'Or, von Trier gave the judges the finger and stormed out of the venue.
Gotta love it

User avatar
denti alligator
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:36 pm
Location: "born in heaven, raised in hell"

#3 Post by denti alligator » Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:40 pm

domino harvey wrote:
The film won three awards at the Cannes Film Festival (Best Artistic Contribution, Jury Prize, and Technical Grand Prize). Upon realizing that he had not won the Palme d'Or, von Trier gave the judges the finger and stormed out of the venue.
Gotta love it
I loathe the man. And just as I was warming to the idea of trying to purchase every Criterion.

User avatar
Tribe
The Bastard Spawn of Hank Williams
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:59 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Contact:

#4 Post by Tribe » Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:06 pm

denti alligator wrote:I loathe the man. And just as I was warming to the idea of trying to purchase every Criterion.
I can't disagree with you, Denti...Von Trier is a shit. But, damn....he makes great films. I wonder if a box is somehow in the works for the E Trilogy inasmuch as Epidemic is available in a fine edition from HVE/Image.

Tribe

User avatar
denti alligator
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:36 pm
Location: "born in heaven, raised in hell"

#5 Post by denti alligator » Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:28 pm

Tribe wrote:
denti alligator wrote:I loathe the man. And just as I was warming to the idea of trying to purchase every Criterion.
I can't disagree with you, Denti...Von Trier is a shit. But, damn....he makes great films..
Never seen one that was great, though I've only seen Dancer in the Dark and Breaking the Waves. The former was unbearable; the latter had some merits, but c'est tout.

User avatar
justeleblanc
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:05 pm
Location: Connecticut

#6 Post by justeleblanc » Mon Oct 29, 2007 4:14 pm

Quite wonderful news. I've been waiting for this film for such a long time now I'd written it off as a film Miramax will sit on forever. Could this mean Belle de Jour may finally become a Criterion property?

If you don't like Lars von Trier, it's worth checking out The Idiots or The Five Obstructions if you haven't already before coming to a final decision. Both are short.

User avatar
Tribe
The Bastard Spawn of Hank Williams
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:59 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Contact:

#7 Post by Tribe » Mon Oct 29, 2007 4:20 pm

justeleblanc wrote: If you don't like Lars von Trier, it's worth checking out The Idiots or The Five Obstructions if you haven't already before coming to a final decision. Both are short.
As much as I like The Idiots, if someone doesn't care for Von Trier's films after watching Dancer In the Dark and Breaking the Waves, I doubt watching Obrstuctions and Idiots is gonna change anyone's mind.

Zentropa (or Europa) is probably Von Trier's most accessible film in terms of plot and visuals. The story is fairly straight forward while the look of this movie is spectacular. It's one of my favorites of his.

Tribe

User avatar
Cinephrenic
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:58 pm
Location: Paris, Texas

#8 Post by Cinephrenic » Mon Oct 29, 2007 4:23 pm

I had a hard time getting through The Element of Crime, a film I appriciate, but was just simply bored.

User avatar
Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

#9 Post by Matt » Mon Oct 29, 2007 4:47 pm

It's worth noting for those not familiar with his work that von Trier's films up to Zentropa are completely different in style from the films from Breaking the Waves onward. They could almost be the work of a different filmmaker entirely.

Me, I think Zentropa looks fantastic, but I don't think I'd have the patience to sit through it again if I was paid to.

User avatar
pianocrash
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:02 am
Location: Over & Out

#10 Post by pianocrash » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:01 pm

Cinephrenic wrote:I had a hard time getting through The Element of Crime, a film I appriciate, but was just simply bored.
Zentropa is far easier on the eyes, since it's based in noir-type tendencies, as is the subject matter (well, not that easy). It's more akin to his Dogville-era trilogy, as far as I'm concerned. All of the film's formal elegance may be trumped by its ideology (as in most Von Trier), but I have happier memories with Zentropa than, say, most of his other work.

Give it a chance, everybody! Jean-Marc Barr deserves that, at least.

User avatar
justeleblanc
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:05 pm
Location: Connecticut

#11 Post by justeleblanc » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:28 pm

Bordwell made this comparison at one point that von Trier is the opposite of Bela Tarr stylewise, where Tarr began his career in a more verite type manner and has transitioned into a more stylized aesthetic. Whereas von Trier began very stylized and has since become more Dogme-verite like (though the U.S.A. trilogy may be breaking that rule a bit).

Zentropa is right at the end of his stylized period, but it's by far the best film of the E trilogy and Element of Crime and Epidemic shouldn't deter one from giving this a shot. In fact, this one may help you appreciate the other two a bit more, never a bad thing.

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#12 Post by zedz » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:35 pm

Matt wrote:Me, I think Zentropa looks fantastic, but I don't think I'd have the patience to sit through it again if I was paid to.
Same here, a classic example of "nice filmmaking, shame about the film." I can't imagine what Criterion could pull out of the hat to trump the European "E Trilogy" release of the film, and I picked up the entire box for less than the price of an upper-tier Criterion, so this isn't a release for which I can work up much enthusiasm.

User avatar
miless
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:45 pm

#13 Post by miless » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:14 pm

The only Von Trier film that I can say I enjoyed was The Boss of it All, a funny little film with some of the most bizarre camera work I've ever seen (probably due to it being controlled by a computer). It was funny, and the whole film didn't stink of Von Trier's ignorant accusations.

User avatar
FilmFanSea
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:37 pm
Location: Portland, OR

#14 Post by FilmFanSea » Mon Oct 29, 2007 7:05 pm

Sign me up as one who has no patience for von Trier's arrogant, sadistic, manipulative, misogynistic morality plays. Just the memory of viewing Breaking the Waves makes me wanna punch somebody (preferably Lars). Ditto Dancer in the Dark.

That said, I really enjoy Riget I/II, so I'll probably give a CC Zentropa at least a rental.
Last edited by FilmFanSea on Tue Oct 30, 2007 1:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
kaujot
Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 6:28 pm
Location: Austin
Contact:

#15 Post by kaujot » Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:57 pm

I've never seen Dancer in the Dark, but misogynistic is the last adjective I'd attach to Breaking the Waves.

User avatar
Tribe
The Bastard Spawn of Hank Williams
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:59 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Contact:

#16 Post by Tribe » Mon Oct 29, 2007 10:56 pm

kaujot wrote:I've never seen Dancer in the Dark, but misogynistic is the last adjective I'd attach to Breaking the Waves.
Well, I'm a big admirer of Von Trier's work in Breaking the Waves, but even a fan can find that film misogynistic. Sure, it's sublime...but its also so ugly in parts. Of course, that's part of what makes it such a special movie.

Tribe

User avatar
kaujot
Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 6:28 pm
Location: Austin
Contact:

#17 Post by kaujot » Mon Oct 29, 2007 11:38 pm

Tribe wrote:
kaujot wrote:I've never seen Dancer in the Dark, but misogynistic is the last adjective I'd attach to Breaking the Waves.
Well, I'm a big admirer of Von Trier's work in Breaking the Waves, but even a fan can find that film misogynistic.
Now, admittedly, I've only seen it once, but never, even during the ugliest bits of the film, did I think anything like "Boy, von Trier sure hates this girl." That's how I see a misogynistic film. That is, where the a director's contempt for women is displayed openly in the film, rather than having characters who genuinely ARE misogynistic (the Hostel films, Chaos, etc.)

User avatar
ievenlostmycat
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:19 pm

#18 Post by ievenlostmycat » Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:08 am

excellent news

User avatar
skuhn8
wax on; wax off
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:46 pm
Location: Chico, CA

#19 Post by skuhn8 » Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:25 am

Tribe wrote:Well, I'm a big admirer of Von Trier's work in Breaking the Waves, but even a fan can find that film misogynistic.
Can you elaborate on which parts are misogynistic? I've seen the film a couple of times now and didn't notice anything that was less than sympathetic to the female characters except for the mother who is a useless bitch due to religious fanaticism rather than gender.

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

#20 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:54 am

Interesting development, although I'm going to refuse to call the film anything other than Europa! Since the end credits song praises "Europa" in a new world order, neo-facist style it seems appropriate to call the film that - unless the song and Max Von Sydow's references to it were changed?

I'm afraid I can't remember what the story behind the title change to Zentropa was - was it an official alternate title or just used in the US?

I'm glad to see another Von Trier film in the collection, even if I'm not certain what Criterion could do other than just port over the Europa portion of the Electric Parc "E" set (maybe including Von Trier's student short Images of a Relief which was an easter egg in the trilogy box - even better would be some of his other unavailable student films). Perhaps they could do a video interview with Udo Kier and Jean-Marc Barr instead of using their disappointing commentary from the Danish set? It also seems like a good release to go into the critical reaction and maybe get statements from directors or actors who were impressed by the film.

I found the film itself to be very impressive with the continual movements of characters from a filmed back projection to acting in front of it in the same scene but perhaps because it was this was the earliest Von Trier film I saw that I have ended up preferring the other two films more - The Element of Crime with the enlightening critics commentary and Epidemic for its pre-Dogme faux reality handheld style versus the images from the film within the film that are composed and managed to within an inch of their lives! (Or perhaps it was more Dogme than Dogme since the main characters in the drama are actually setting up the camera and the shots themselves!)

Setting the film in a post-world war two environment strangely seemed to make the shifts from black and white to colour and the interactions between the back projections and the characters in front of them seem more jarring than they were in the vaguely defined worlds of Element of Crime and the film in Epidemic. Perhaps I was left with a feeling that this kind of flashy stylisation was inappropriate in a way to the subject matter.

However it could also be argued that the Second World War has been covered from so many different perspectives from very literal to the most inaccurate and so a take on that era filtered though Von Trier's sensibilities would have been more acceptable than using another, not so universal, period.

I wonder if Steven Soderbergh has seen it and, if so, what he thought of it. I doubt this particular film had much influence on The Good German, but you never know!

User avatar
kaujot
Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 6:28 pm
Location: Austin
Contact:

#21 Post by kaujot » Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:34 am

colinr0380 wrote: I'm afraid I can't remember what the story behind the title change to Zentropa was - was it an official alternate title or just used in the US?
There was another film in the US released at the time (or just before) by the title of Europa Europa.

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

#22 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:40 am


User avatar
Tribe
The Bastard Spawn of Hank Williams
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:59 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Contact:

#23 Post by Tribe » Tue Oct 30, 2007 1:52 pm

skuhn8 wrote:
Tribe wrote:Well, I'm a big admirer of Von Trier's work in Breaking the Waves, but even a fan can find that film misogynistic.
Can you elaborate on which parts are misogynistic? I've seen the film a couple of times now and didn't notice anything that was less than sympathetic to the female characters except for the mother who is a useless bitch due to religious fanaticism rather than gender.
I find the movie almost revels in the notion that a woman's path to sainthood is premised on humiliating degradation. In addition, the only woman who is free, so to speak, from her surrounding society is Beth as she delights in her sexuality with her new husband. Yet, she is the only female character who is subjected to the awfulness, while remaining pure (or good) at heart.

So yeah, that's misogynistic in my book. But I'm not knocking Breaking the Waves...it's a brilliant, although difficult to watch at times, movie.

Tribe

User avatar
lazier than a toad
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:30 pm

#24 Post by lazier than a toad » Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:08 pm

I am not sure you can take anything that happens in a von Trier, or that he says in an interview (did you see the one where he pretends/claims he hypnotised the whole cast and crew of Europa?) film on face value. To me they all reek of irony in a kind of self and audience hating way - the end of Obstructions or the whole of the Idiots seem like the clearest examples. And that seems to be very sadistic (as well as masochistic) and deeply arrogant, but never really misogynist. He never condones, glamourises, trivialises or marginalises the suffering of his women characters - he makes it disgusting, but in a way that exaggerates something of a reality (not denying it). Hence I would argue that his films are overall constructive not destructive/misogynist, despite often being hard things to watch.

At the same time I am not sure I would not describe a movie I felt was misogynist as great, without feeling misogynist myself.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

#25 Post by domino harvey » Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:42 pm

lazier than a toad wrote:At the same time I am not sure I would not describe a movie I felt was misogynist as great, without feeling misogynist myself.
Misogynist films are said to be great in spite of their misogyny. So many canonical films are misogynistic that excluding them is to exclude most of cinema.

Post Reply