Live (Sort of) From New York! It's Lars von Trier!
The 47th New York Film Festival opens Friday, but the main attraction may have already come and gone this afternoon when Lars von Trier -- the self-described "greatest film director in the world" whose instant classic Antichrist screens here Oct. 2 -- graced Lincoln Center with his presence for a press conference. Actually, it was via Skype (von Trier doesn't travel outside Europe), but let's be honest: Virtual Lars is better than no Lars at all. Even the filmmaker was excited by von Trier standards: "I've tried to struggle myself out of this depression," he said in introduction. "It hasn't really worked. But I'm very happy to see all the people there in New York. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere!" Brown-noser. Read on for more thoughts on Antichrist, horror films, David Lynch, his "misogyny researcher," and other mumbly, lo-fi wit and wisdom.
ON HIS HORROR-FILM INFLUENCES: "The idea was to make a horror film. I know it is not really, but I think I started with that. ... I've seen the old stuff, but at the same time, in my confusion I saw a lot of Japanese horror films. I saw The Ring and Dark Water. I liked them very much, but maybe I liked them not so much as horror, but for the cultural differences. It's interesting to see images that are definitely not from the West. I like them very much, but I'm not sure if I'm as influenced by them as much as The Shining. Or Rosemary's Baby. And Carrie was actually a very good film when I saw it."
ON THE BASIC ELEMENTS THAT TURN A HORROR FILM INTO A CLASSIC: I think that Psycho is a classic, but not because it was scary. [...] But in horror films, the scary things are not what I remember. I remember a style or a mood. The good thing about horror films is that they have a lot of room for strange pictures or whatever. I didn't find The Shining very 'scary,' I must say. But today, I'm rather involved with it. I think that, as with all other films, it has to do with a personality that you feel in it as you watch what happens in it."
ON DAVID LYNCH AND THEIR FEMALE MASOCHISTS: "I was very, very taken by Twin Peaks. I thought that was a fantastic piece of whatever it was. And Mulholland Drive. But the other feature films I haven't seen. Maybe Lynch and I share a fetish?"
ON DEDICATING ANTICHRIST TO ANDREI TARKOVSKY: "Tarkovsky has been very, very important for me. I studied him in film school, and when I saw The Mirror for the first time, it took a couple days for me to get over. I've stolen so much from him over the years that in order not to get arrested I had to dedicate the film to him."
ON THE STATUS OF HIS "USA TRILOGY" THAT INCLUDES DOGVILLE AND MANDERLAY: "That's the problem with trilogies. There has to be three of them. But I do not have the exact idea. I'd make the film if was possible."
ON ANTICHRIST'S "MISOGYNY RESEARCHER": "It has mostly to do with the things the female character in the film is going through in her thesis. She did a very good job; I didn't do very much of it. I'm in a situation where I can only get the fundamental stuff out of it. I don't know if I learned anything or if I hated women more than I did before. [Pause] I like to be with women."
ON THE MOSTLY FRIENDLY NYC CROWD: "You didn't notice any walkouts? Then I have failed."