Lars von Trier
Probably the most ambitious and visually distinctive filmmaker to emerge from Denmark since Carl Theodor Dreyer over 60 years earlier, Lars von Trier studied film at the Danish Film School and attracted international attention with his very first feature, The Element of Crime (1984). A highly distinctive blend of film noir and German Expressionism with stylistic nods to Dreyer, Andrei Tarkovsky and Orson Welles, its combination of yellow-tinted monochrome cinematography (pierced by shafts of blue light) and doom-haunted atmosphere made it an unforgettable visual experience. His subsequent features Epidemic (1987) and Europa (1991) have been equally ambitious both thematically and visually, though his international fame is most likely to be based on The Kingdom (1994), a TV soap opera blending hospital drama, ghost story and Twin Peaks (1990)-style surrealism that was so successful in Denmark that it was released internationally as a 280-minute theatrical feature.
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