Lars von Trier retrospective coming to TIFF Lightbox (yes, including the release of Melancholia)

Lars von Trier retrospective coming to TIFF Lightbox (yes, including the release of Melancholia)

Controversial director Lars von Trier is the subject of a new, short running TIFF Bell Lightbox retrospective from November 9 to 19. The Lightbox will screen a number of Von Trier’s films, including his latest, Melancholia, which stars Kirsten Dunst and has yet to be released in theatres in Toronto. Von Trier made headlines earlier this year at a Cannes press conference for the film with some Nazi comments, and since then he has apologized and retreated from the public eye. According to a press release, the select retrospective “[moves] from raw realism to strikingly fabricated fantasy, [showcasing] not only von Trier’s incredible versatility and prolificacy, but also the haunting, deeply felt obsession with apocalypse—personal, societal, cosmic.” Several highlights after the jump.

Breaking the Waves
This 1996 von Trier film won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival and was named among TIFF’s “Essential 100” list of influential films. The film follows Bess as she single-mindedly follows out her paralyzed husband’s shocking request. Screens Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m.

The Element of Crime
Von Trier’s first feature film is set in a nocturnal Europe where an amnesiac cop living abroad returns to Europe via hypnosis. He sets out to solve a string of murders involving lottery ticket sellers, which eventually drives him mad. Screens Nov. 11 at 6:30 p.m.

A true noir film, Europa takes place in 1945 Germany, meditating on “the trap of narrative—which the film virtually equates with fascism—as its hero’s fate,” according to TIFF. Screens Nov. 12 at 8:00 p.m. and Nov. 17 at 9:15 p.m.

A parody of Thorton Wilder’s Our Town, the film stars Nicole Kidman as Grace who flees her father’s corrupt world and takes sanctuary in the mountain community of Dogville. Unfortunately, Dogville turns out to be a less than ideal place for Grace to have landed. Screens Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

Dancer in the Dark
Music fans are most likely familiar with this 2000 Cannes Palme d’Or winner. Starring Bjork, this musical is set in Washington State in the early sixties and tells the story of Selma (Bjork), who is put on trial for murder. Von Trier contrasts his protagonist’s grim circumstances with joyful musical fantasies. Screens Nov. 18 at 6 p.m.

The Idiots
Von Trier throws political correctness to the wind with this film about Avant-garde intellectuals who pretend to be severely mentally challenged in very public spaces with the goal of upsetting bourgeois values and traditions. The film explores hypocrisy and egocentrism in would-be radical movements and continues to spark debate for its depiction of mental illness as well as its unsimulated sexual content. Screens Nov. 19 at 8 p.m.

A drama that unfolds around Justine’s (Kirsten Dunst) wedding day, Melancholia explores both personal existential crisis and the meaning of existence itself as an approaching meteor threatens to destroy the world. Opens at TIFF Bell Lightbox on Nov. 18.