“It’s always been a lie that it’s difficult to make films.”—Lars von Trier
Lars von Trier, a prolific yet controversial film director, has mastered the art of shocking his viewer.
Von Trier’s breakthrough film, The Element of Crime, arrived in 1984 to wide critical acclaim. The project would go on to receive twelve awards at seven international different festivals and pick up a nomination for the prestigious Palme d’Or. The film set up decades of shock factor films for Von Trier.
However, it was thirteen years prior to this moment, in 1971, that the director would lay the foundations for what would become a platform for Von Trier to exhibit his sometimes disturbing creativity. It is this level of commitment to cinema from such a young age which has led the director to adjust to the difficulties of feature films with such ease. “Perhaps the only difference between me and other people is that I’ve always demanded more from the sunset,” he once explained. “More spectacular colours when the sun hit the horizon. That’s perhaps my only sin,” he added in an eye-opening glimpse into his meticulously creative mind.
“My films are about ideals that clash with the world,” he later explained. “Every time it’s a man in the lead, they have forgotten about the ideals. And every time it’s a woman in the lead, they take the ideals all the way.”
Aged just 14, Trier (before he added the ‘Von’), put his ideals into practice when wrote and shot his first film, Why Try to Escape from Which You Know You Can’t Escape from? Because You Are a Coward.
The short film, made in Denmark, runs to around eight minutes and displays staggering ability for a director of such a young age. Filmed on a Super 8 camera, the plot sees a child hit by a truck and left to suffer the injuries alone when another child runs away from the scene.
Somewhat of a psychological drama, the child is reborn through a possessed entity and the film introduces heavy rock, satanic chanting and some manic laughter.
Yeah, 14. He was 14 when he made this.