After the controversial premiere of his most recent film, “The House That Jack Built,” Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier has found himself at the center of a media storm. The spotlight comes from, partially, the harsh, white-hot reaction to ‘Jack’ at the Cannes Film Festival, but it’s also self-made. In recent days, the director’s been making the rounds, talking to media and generally doing what he does best: provoke and troll.
But before we get to the Bjork situation, the director was asked if he had expected people to walk out during the premiere of “The House That Jack Built.” Von Trier said, “I hoped so, yes. I heard there was about 100 [walkouts]. I said, ‘Next time it will be 200!’”
When asked if he’d be disappointed if no one walked out, Von Trier simply replied, “Yes.”
The conversation then turned to one of the biggest stories in the film industry right now — #MeToo. Last year, Lars Von Trier’s production company, Zentropa, came under fire with allegations of sexual harassment when the director’s business partner and producer Peter Aalbaek Jensen was accused by various employees. Surprisingly, when von Trier was asked about #MeToo’s effect on the industry, he praised the movement:
“I think the MeToo movement is a brilliant idea. If it’s used the right way, it’s something very important. The problem is that the Internet is something that we had not imagined would affect our lives so much. Nobody had thought that this or that could happen. Only that some people repressed in some countries had a way to address the world, which is of course. I’m just scared that … If someone says that person has committed murder or whatever, she’s normally presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
However, it wasn’t just Von Trier’s business partner that was accused of inappropriate behavior. Last year, singer/actress Björk accused the filmmaker of inappropriate touching on the set of his 2000 film “Dancer In The Dark.” At the time, Von Trier’s business partner Jensen came out and said that he and the filmmaker were, in fact, the victims. During this recent interview with Allocine, the filmmaker broke his silence and spoke about the incident:
“You know, 90% of the journalists I spoke to believe that I harassed Björk, but that’s ridiculous because I denied it, but no one wrote it. Because a good story is to write that I harassed her. And this is not the case. I touched her, it’s true. I did it with all my actresses. Because she was doing a really intense job: screaming, being sick … So obviously I hugged her. But if she thinks a hug is harassment, then I think I will not be able to succeed without touching my actors. I do not touch her in the wrong places, I think.”
Your mileage may vary about whether or not you believe that Von Trier is sincere or just continuously trolling the media with his salacious answers to questions. Either way, it’s clear that Von Trier isn’t interested in saying, “no comment.”
“The House That Jack Built” will hit U.S. theaters sometime this fall.