VonTrier, Dogville, Brevik

Last night Politikien‘s Nils Thoren ran comments from Danish director Lars Von Trier about reports that the now-shuttered Facebook page belonging to Anders Behring Breivik, the 32 year-old rightwing terrorist responsible for the recent Oslo bombing and the 69 murders on the Norweigan island of Utoya, listed Von Trier’s Dogville (’03) as Breivik’s third-favorite film.

(l.) Melancholia and Dogville director Lars von Trier; (r.) Danish People’s Party figurehead Pia Merete Kjaersgaard.

Von Trier is of course no more responsible for Breivik’s carnage than Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger was responsible for Mark David Chapman‘s 1980 killing of John Lennon. And yet Breivik’s stated admiration of Dogville does suggest that Von Trier’s 2003 drama may have influenced him on some level.

Breivik’s Facebook page listed Dogville as his third favorite film right behind Gladiator and 300, and “even von Trier could easily discern the similarities between the carnage at Utoya and the film’s ending,” Thoren writes.

Dogville, one of Von Trier’s best, ends with Nicole Kidman‘s Grace, who’s been exploited and sexually abused by Dogville’s citizenry, ordering the pistols who work for her gangster dad (James Caan) to mow them all down with machine-gun fire.

“I feel badly about thinking that Dogville, which in my eyes is one of my most successful films, should have been a kind of script for him,” Von Trier said. “It’s horrific.

“My intention with Dogville was totally opposite. Namely, to ask whether we can accept a protagonist who takes revenge on the entire village. And here I take the absolute distance from revenge. It’s a way to nuance the protagonist and our feelings and perhaps even uncover it, so it just is not black and white ‘.

And yet Thoren reports that “even Trier believes that Dogville‘s final scene brings very unpleasant memories of Utoya.”

“And you can ask if I regret making the film,” Von Trier is quoted as saying. “And yes, if it was an inspiration, I’m sorry that I made it. But of course I have educational purposes with my films, even if I hesitate to admit it, and my views are the complete opposite of Breivik and his deeds.”

Von Trier said he also believes that all of Denmark needs to look inward after the tragedy in Norway.

“The other day asked a Belgian journalist Von Trier, a Dane, how he feels about the reported fact that Breivik’s manifesto repeatedly emphasizes Denmark as the only decent country because of the Danish policy towards Muslims,” Thoren writes.

“‘It makes me really hurt, but I understand it well,’ Von Trier replied. ‘We might have saved the children and young people on the island [if we had] done much more with Danish People’s Party. For it is the change in attitude which they have provoked, and as we just have let happen, we are paying the price for now.’

“I am no expert in politics, but as I see it, there has for years been a strong Danish tradition of fears of Islam. They have committed atrocious legislative efforts to annoy the minority here and pursue a policy that is well in line with what Breivik preaches. The fhostility to foreigners then spreads to the entire Nordic region and is also present in the minds of Breivik and gives him perhaps the excuse he needs. Therefore I can not see anything other than that we as a nation bears a responsibility for the tragedy in Norway.”

Is there a link between saying what one thinks about immigration and then resorting to violence?

“Of course. And everyone must say what they want. Freedom of speech is the whole cornerstone of our democracy. But it does not exempt [one] from liability. And we have sent the signal that it’s okay to spread hatred against Muslims. Especially after the Danish Peoples Party has been the government’s support party. Because when you lean up against the party and say: Okay, the positions we take in the bargain. So you legitimize them. ”

“I think there is a direct line from Pia Kjaergaard‘s humanity and to Utoya. One must demand that Kjaersgaard steps forward and takes her share of responsibility for what has happened in Norway. For it is a change of attitude, as she and her party have successfully represented

Pia Merete Kjaersgaard “is a co-founder and current leader of the Danish People’s Party, a nativist, national conservative political party in Denmark,” says her Wiki page. “She has become one of the best known politicians in Denmark during recent years, partly for her stance against multiculturalism, unwavering anti-immigration stance and partly for her parliamentary support for the center-right governments of Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Lars Lokke Rasmussen since 2001.”

  • Rashad

    Well 300 is about a king who knowingly deludes his solders of being worshiped with honor and glory for provoking a war and ultimately being killed, so that it forces his corrupt country to respond by sending the rest of the military to fight the expanding Persians.

  • Mr. F.

    At least he didn’t say he “sympathizes with” Breivik, so he’s learned SOMETHING from Cannes…

  • It’s probably uncool to say so, but I love the fact that Von Trier took this opportunity to score political points against the rightie scuzz that have been holding way too much power in Danish politics for some time now. None of this “Oh, this person was clearly crazy, nobody else can possibly be blamed for this” nonsense.

  • bluetide

    Von Trier is being too hard on his home country. The whole right-wing nativist anti-Islam bullshit bandwagon is all over Europe and did not begin in Denmark. Whether it’s the Netherlands or Belgium or Sweden or the BNP in the UK or whomever wherever, nativism is becoming mainstream in Europe. I expect the mainstream media to literally shit a brick when France – yes that France – elects Jean Marie le Pen president later this year.

  • actionlover

    Should we blame clowns for John W. Gacy?

    Christeez, people. Every now and then somebody who’s already certifiable snaps. This guy was CRAZY.

    Instead of lighting torches or circling wagons lets just call it what it is. The man was plainly nuts.

    It’s like the Giffords shooter. Everyone with an agenda has to jump in and use it as an excuse to blame or bolster a political dogma when, at the end of the day, the shooter was, quite simply, a lunatic.

  • The Thing

    I’m with Bluetide on this one. France passed a law that made wearing a Hijab illegal. Much of Europe is against foreigners, especially Muslims, so to single out his own country is kind of a cop out.

  • Jonathan Spuij

    It’s a very difficult and unsettling issue that I rather won’t see connect to the light fun of watching movies. Sorry.

  • Owen Walter

    I remember admiring “Dogville,” not least because the Kidman character didn’t predictably turn out to be another one of Von Trier’s female victims. I thought she was allegorical, a Fate visited on the rottenness of humanity. It takes someone literal-minded and unimaginative, in other words, a right-wing extremist, to turn that into a plan to kill innocent children.

  • The Pope

    I’ve rarely been a fan of Von Trier and loath him for what that stupid stunt he pulled in Cannes, but in this instance, he has nothing to apologize for. Breivik is a complete loon and no one set him off other than himself. Like all maniacs he blames other people and events.

  • corey3rd

    after seeing the trailer to Smurfs, I had to fight a homicidal urge.

  • elzilcho

    Von Trier doesn’t deserve blame. But the political establishment of Europe does.

  • creepingmalaise

    The Rabbi actually has a link to this article on MCN?

    What gives?

  • Deathtongue_Groupie

    Uh, actionlover:



    Oklahoma City

    It wasn’t a bunch of tree hugging hippies who were responsible. When they snap, they burn down car dealerships and buy up Federal land auctions.

  • Kakihara

    “Von Trier is of course no more responsible for Breivik’s carnage than Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger was responsible for Mark David Chapman’s 1980 killing of John Lennon.”

    Well, in his defense, Von Trier wasn’t a spook in a previous life…Plus, Dogville was a friggin’ satire, just like Helter Skelter. OTOH, this might actually help boost sales for Melancholia-or not.

    actionlover: In the case of Loughner, he did have direct “inspiration”. In fact, Breivik also liked our right-wing nut-jobs.

  • The Pope


    “The Rabbi actually has a link to this article on MCN?”

    Stupid citing. And that’s coming from me, the Head of the Catholic Church.

  • Krillian

    Makes me think of what Spielberg and/or Tarantino must’ve thought when Klebold & Harris said they hope one of those two directors makes the movie about the killing spree they were about to do at Columbine. Of course Von Trier has 0% responsibility for Breivik’s actions. But it still has to suck knowing your name even came up.

  • Kakihara

    Krillian: Well, Spielberg would probably be baffled, since he doesn’t dabble in torture porn, unless you count the sniper scene in Schindler’s LIst.

  • BobbyLupo

    You know, I usually think the phrase “torture porn” is pretty stupid, but if somebody tortured DZ and filmed it, goddamn if I wouldn’t get a big ol’ boner watching it.

  • Super Soul

    How genuinely committed is someone to the free expression of ideas if they always have to deny that they influence the actions of others? Unless it’s someone they don’t like, in which case they will defy logic to construct a completely implausible relationship?

    Answer: Very little.

  • corey3rd

    Spielberg has made torture porn of to be accurate Steven Spielrock does – I had to work a week in a video store that the owner demanded we run The Flintstones all day long on the store.

    I have scars on my eyes from 60 hours of exposure to that piece of crap.

  • JChasse

    DZ: “Splain to me how “Helter Skelter” is a satire, friggin’ or otherwise.

  • jujuju

    so — if you want to cop an insanity plea all you have to do is ‘like’ a movie on facebook (maybe put a couple posters up from a movie) that depicts a murder in the style of the one you’re planning

    conversely, if a film depicts an act of violence that someone carries out in real life the director is to blame

    got it

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