Lars von Trier is widely regarded as one of the most provocative, avant-garde and accomplished directors in world cinema.
This Valentines, steer clear from the sappy rom-coms and spend your weekend with the director who believes in ‚Äòloving someone so much it hurts’. From Friday through Sunday at 9.30pm WM Adult: Lars Von Trier presents three of his most provocative films, including Antichrist, Nymphomaniac Vol I and Nymphomaniac Vol II.
To get you in the mood for a tantalizing weekend with some of Lars’ finest films, we’ve pulled together a few facts you might not have known about this ambitious Danish filmmaker.
1. He was raised a nudist
Both of his parents were nudists and as a child Lars went on several childhood holidays to nudist camps.
2. He started film-making as a child
Lars started film-making at age eleven, after receiving a Super 8 camera as a gift. He continued independent moviemaking throughout high school.
3. He added the ‚Äòvon’ to his name
Born Lars Trier he later added the aristocratic ‚Äòvon’ to his name in homage to director Josef von Sternberg.
4. He didn’t meet his biological father until he was 33
His mother revealed to him on her deathbed that the man Lars believed to be his father was not in fact a blood-relative, and he was actually conceived as a result of an affair she had with her employer. After a few awkward meetings with his biological father, they both decided not to pursue any relationship.
5. He went through an identity crisis
In an effort to rebel against his past and to erase any connection with his stepfather, Lars converted to Catholicism and reworked his filmmaking into a style emphasizing ‚Äúhonesty‚Äù. On his religious views, “I’m a very bad Catholic. In fact I’m becoming more and more of an atheist.”
6. He has an intense fear of flying
To avoid flying, Lars insists that virtually all of his films are shot in Denmark or Sweden, even those set in other countries. Each time his films were featured at the Cannes Film festival he drove from Denmark to France for the festival and back.
7. He was addicted to drugs and alcohol
In the past Lars reportedly would write all his films whilst drinking vodka and taking drugs. He has said that this level of intoxication allowed him to enter a ‚Äòparallel world’, where his creativity flourished and inhibitions vanished.
8. He is now sober
Lars became sober after going to rehab and attending Alcoholics Anonymous. However, he has mentioned that he is now worried he can’t make films sober, as Nymphomaniac (his first film after rehab) took him 18 months to write, whereas Dogville was written during a 12 day drug binge. ‚ÄúI don’t know if I can make any more films, and that worries me. There is no creative expression of artistic value that has ever been produced by ex-drunkards and ex-drug addicts‚Äù Lars stated.
9. He suffers from depression
Lars is a long term sufferer of depression and has had many years of therapy and medication. In 2007, he sank into a new low, saying ‚ÄúI was just lying, crying, for a week, just looking into a wall, couldn’t get up. I was so afraid.”
10. He was a Knight
Lars Von Trier was made a Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog in 1997. Ten years later he decided to hand back the prize, saying that the Danish royal family are just ‚Äúsimply people of bad quality‚Äù.
WM Adult: Lars Von Trier kicks off tonight at 9.30pm. Find out more about the films here.