Friday, May 22, 2009

Dogma My Arse

Lars von Trier is at it again. His latest film, ‘Anti-Christ’ has premiered at Cannes.

“Charlotte Gainsbourg drills a hole through Willem Dafoe's leg and sticks a stave through it after smashing in his testicles with a piece of firewood. But it is the moment when she apparently cuts off her clitoris with a pair of scissors that has become the succes de scandale of the great French film festival.”

Is there a more over-rated artist in the world than this fuckhead?

“Oh, but he has something to say...” his fans implore. But what? What does he have to say? All these people who protect him don’t know what it is he’s saying, just that he ‘says something’. So let us go to the man himself. When asked by a disgusted journalist to defend his film, Lars said, “'s a good starting point for a discussion, the fact that you feel something about the film."

A ‘starting point’? What the fuck? Shouldn’t the ‘starting point’ be the reason for the film in the first place, or its story, as opposed to the revulsion felt by the audience? Fuck me – even he doesn’t know what his film is about!

“Oh, but his films are confronting...” say the Dogma groupies.

Fuck off. Anyone can be confronting. I could drug a nun, smear dog shit over her tits whilst masturbating into a tub of lard and that’s criminal and foul, but if I call myself an ‘artist’ first, suddenly I'm 'confronting'.

Just because something is confronting, doesn’t mean it has artistic value, or meaning, or is entertaining, or is any good at all.

It is so easy to be ‘arty’. All you need is no talent, no direction and some money. But to create something of artistic worth? Now that takes some talent. Ay, there’s the rub.

Lasr von Trier is the pinup boy of this mass confusion as to what art has become. Call me old fashioned, but a central feature of great artists no matter what their field, is great proficiency at their art. You may not like Warhol, but he knew what he was doing. There was a meaning behind it. Lars lacks this. All he has is his stupid fucked up ‘Dogma’ which is a set of rules and agreements as to how a film should be made, and because he has stuck to these agreements, he earns the respect of movie fans around the world. But it’s just a mass stupidity as far as I can tell, a mass delusion of sorts, where because one person said, "Oh, he has integrity," his reputation spread like swine-flu.

“He makes films that adhere to his own artistic ethos...” So what? Just because he has a production ethos, does it mean he’s any good?

I can do that!

Perseus Q’s POGMA

*Only make films in black and white
*All films to be shot in real time
*Only one-take.
*Use different actors to overdub all voices
*Only use actors from broken homes
*Real dog shit must be smeared over a nun’s tits in every movie

There. If I make ten films like this with no coherent story purpose, no technical ability, no meaning, no direction, but rigidly stick to these rules, will I go down in history as an artist with integrity? Probably. But did I entertain people? Probably not.

I'd confront them though. Oh I'd be confronting alright. I'd confront them with inane 'shock value', just like Uncle Lars.

It is very difficult to create something that both entertains and enriches, and what we ask of artists is that they do one or the other, or even better, both. Britney Spears at least does one of these things – she entertains millions of kids, and for that, I have more respect for her singing and dancing talent than I do for the entire body of work created by Lars von Trier.

'Shock value' can exist in art. 'Guernica' by Picasso. 'A Clockwork Orange' by Burgess. 'Suicide In An Airplane' by Ornstein. 'Pulp Fiction' by Tarantino even. But what Tarantino, Ornstein, Burgess and Picasso have that Lars lacks is simple - artistry.

'Breaking The Waves', 'The Idiots', 'Dogville', 'Dancer In The Dark'... I mean seriously, did anyone see these films and say, "Wow, that was really good!"?

To quote TISM: “It’s novel, it’s unique, it’s shithouse.”


Rant over. Everyone back to Ramon's poem please.


Cath said...

Artistry is an indefinable concept. Not that I disagree that his work is horseshit, but one man's horseshit is another man's piece de resistance.

But what do I know... I actually own Britney Spears cd's.

Anonymous said...

Real dog shit must be smeared over a nun’s tits in every movie

Could you make it chocolate instead? Kthnx.

I didn't mind Dancer in the Dark, but I doubt I'll ever go back for a repeat viewing.

This new movie sounds like it has way too much bodily mutilation for my rather low sympathetic-pain threshold.

wari lasi said...

Come on Perseus, don't mince words.

What do you really think of the guy?

Pepsi said...

Knee-jerking straight to its rubbish without even bothering to see the flick, oh dear, are we auditioning for ACA?

Was it laziness, a fancy for further attacking someone whom you dislike wrt the film-maker targeted, or are you just hopping on the bandwagon - have the anti-Bill Henson mob hopped off that wagon yet or is it still pretty crowded on there?

I cant comment on Anti-Christ yet, as I haven’t seen it, and if it turns out to be rubbish then I’d call it such but I will wait and see before passing judgement.

As you know, I have loved some LVT offerings, Dancer and Waves included, and been bored senseless by others. Just because you don’t get it, doesn’t mean its crap.

Did you dislike The Piano Teacher with similar gusto, I do recall Isabelle Huppert doing a bit of razor to the clit action as well?

I haven’t yet found out what the meaning behind Warhols art is - I got bored and gave up, but art appreciation, just like music, film and literature; well its all subjective isn’t it.

Perseus said...

"Just because you don’t get it, doesn’t mean its crap. "Ah, but here's my point. It does mean it is crap if there is nothing to get.

Cath said...

Pepsi... Warhol's Art is fine, but his film work, aka soft gay porn, is pointless. But..... subjectivity reigns supreme.

Perseus said...

Good point Catlick. I was indeed referring to Warhol's flat art, not his films.

Oh, and just to add: 'Breaking The Waves'... I did get it. He was out to 'confront' me. In this, Lars von Trier succeeded. I was confronted, traumatised, outraged etc etc. But see my original post for my opinions on 'confrontation in art'.

Pepsi said...

Perseus, the logic in your analysis of what is crap is very rural.

I always thought there was nothing left in modern art except to confront?

Perseus said...

I have nothing against being confronted, but it must accompany some artistry, whether it be entertainment or something that enriches me. But confrontation in itself, and of itself, I personally believe, is not worth the admission price. Like I said, Picasso's 'Guernica' confronts, but in a mind-numbingly brilliant way and it means something and it's about something. 'Breaking The Waves' seem to lack this. It just confronts, and does nothing else.

Perseus said...

Hang on... 'rural'?


I thought I was the biggest snob on this site.

Nobody out-snobs me!

Pepsi said...

"Picasso's 'Guernica' confronts, but in a mind-numbingly brilliant way and it means something and it's about something." Its easy to say that because you got it, asks someone who doesn’t and I bet they don’t have the same view – its subjective.

I always thought Waves was about reminding you, in a rather jolting way, that your view of the world is not necessarily the same view shared by other people. I think its kind of ironic that you don’t get this message.

Bess is not the full quid, he tries to show how she believes (with her limited intellectually abilities and her child like through processes), that by sleeping with other men, the god she has created will be able to cure her husband.

To your way of thinking, that seems ludicrous, to her it is not.

That’s the story.

I think here is artistic merit in that.

Miss Snob.

Perseus said...


Perseus said...

Right, so as long as I can back up my 'confrontational' Pogma movie with a premise, it's okay?

"No matter how ludicrous it seems, Gavin believes that his mother is in Hell, and further, believes that rubbing dog shit into a drugged nun's tits will mean his mother will go to heaven instead."

You see? It's still meaningless. I just made it up as justification for my 'confrontational' images.

Every Lars von Trier film could be described using that line at the start of the premise...

"No matter how ludicrous this seems..."


Desci said...

Brill post, Pers. What I've seen of LVT is pure shit. Gus Van Sant vacillates between unspeakably bad and fantastic, but Von Trier... far too overrated by a public starved for something smart and different.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Is there a more over-rated artist in the world than this fuckhead?

Jane Campion comes pretty close.

Desci said...

INH: Sonic Youth.

Yeah, Pers, I went there.

Perseus said...

Sonic Youth?

You're dead to me for a period of 48 hours.

Desci said...

Garn, just admit it, they're shit. You'll feel better for it I promise.

Melba said...

I have no opinion on Lars apart from that I think he has an ace first name.

BUT I think I'm probably the biggest snob on here, Perseus.

You at least made an argument for the acceptance of "youse." That almost made me go off you.

Care for a snob-off?

Anonymous said...

I always thought there was nothing left in modern art except to confront?

What's the point of it then?

Art used to be about aesthetics.

Now it's about an incestuous gaggle of poseurs clamouring to drown each other out with some contrived confrontational 'message'.

Anonymous said...

I quite enjoyed 'Dancer In The Dark' and 'Dogville' which is all I ask of a work of 'art'. I have no idea why I enjoyed them and I have no interest in trying to analyse it. If I saw you wanking off on a shit covered nun and enjoyed that too, then so be it. I find the idea of trying to debated artistic merit ridiculous. You can debate technical competency, but then, I'd say that a lot of the films I like are pretty bad in this regard.

The thing that bugs me is the way that people get behind an artist to the point where the art becomes secondary. Even if I loved all his films, I still wouldn't give a shit about Lars von Trier, or his rules, or for that matter, whether or not he is trying to make some kind of statement with his work.

Puss In Boots said...

INH: Sonic Youth.

Yeah, Pers, I went there.
Haha! Desci, I think I love you. Someone has been trying to convince me to like them for years. I refuse.

Desci said...

Puss, I very much sympathise. The hero worship; it's like the Emperor's New Clothes with some of my friends!

Perseus said...

Sonic Youth is very much a muso's band, so I can see why they don't have mass appeal. Under the thundering feedback, they are up to some clever tricks. They de-tune their guitars away from concert-pitch, and play them in wild but unorthodox ways using all sorts of manufactured effects that predominantly appeal to other people in other bands, and, oddly enough, people into classical music... that is, people who don't necessarirly expect three verses, four choruses and a bridge.

Maybe in defence of von Trier, it's possibly the same with him. Cinephiles tend to accept von Trier's films, whereas the casual film observer (me) hate his guts.

I'm not filmic at all. I just don't notice cinematic nuance, but I do hear musical nuances - I can sit and listen to a Sonic Youth song and suddenly say, "Wow, Lee just played a diminished scale and Kim did a counterpoint seventh to Thurston's looping root note, and all tuned downed to D!" and be all excited by this.

Puss In Boots said...

I don't expect 4 verses and a chorus, but I at least expect it to sound good. Sonic Youth is just noise to me. But I accept your point that proper musos would be excited by them.

And on a completely different note (but related to creativity), I have decided to have a themed cocktail party when I get back, with the theme to be my recent travels (ie, come as anything inspired by one of the countries I've visited). I was initially going to get a proper Venetian mask from Venice for my costume, but now that I am coming home early, I can't. So, since you're all such creative types, what do you think I should dress as? I've been to Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rice, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France and Spain.

Anonymous said...

Come dressed in motorcycle leathers and a leg cast, to celebrate the reason for your early return.

I didn't mind Sonic Youth in the early 90s, but they didn't make me emotionally erect or anything. They were strictly of the 'wall of noise' genre of rock.

Under the thundering feedback, they are up to some clever tricks. They de-tune their guitars away from concert-pitch, and play them in wild but unorthodox ways using all sorts of manufactured effects that predominantly appeal to other people in other bands, and, oddly enough, people into classical music...

Sounds like somethingyou might read on an alt rock collector card series from a Weet Bix box.*

* The rare Kurt Cobain card comes with its own plastic replica pistol.

* Find the less rare Pearl Jam card and send away for your own tube of Pearl Jam toothpaste.

Perseus said...

Puss: A swedish backpacker?

Boogeyman: WeetBix are owned by the Seventh Day Adventist church. They do not approve of art-core grunge-rock.

I often wish I was a rock journalist though. It's one of those "I wish I was a..." things.

Perseus said...

From the Weet-Box cards:

Under the clumsy prose, Ellen G. White is up to some clever tricks. She de-tunes her brain away from reason, and writes in wild but unorthodox ways using all sorts of Biblical interpretations that predominantly appeal to other Christian whack-jobs and, oddly enough, people with sexual repression..."

Desci said...

Animal Collective and CocoRosie do experimental sound better than Thurston, Kim et al could ever wish to.

And that's all I'll say nearing the completion of my second tumbler of Frangelico.

Puss: work out your favourite artist from one of those countries, and go as one of his paintings, or in the style of a portrait for one of his/her works?

Puss In Boots said...

Boogey - people would think I hadn't tried if I came as that. I'm quite harsh when it comes to my theme parties. A hat doesn't cut it for me. I have standby costumes at the door for losers who refuse to come dressed up.

Perseus - I thought that was a bit too obvious. So was french maid, or german beer wench.

Desci - That is a fantastic idea! Thanks! Now, as long as it's not Picasso, I should be ok. I'd try to convince the boy to come as Michelangelo's David, but I don't think he'd go for it.

wari lasi said...

Puss, you went to Costa Rice. Is that anywhere near Condoleezza Rice?

If I get invited to your party I'll come as Pinochet.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Pers. in my long and varied career I have done time as a rock journo.

It's a fucking doddle.

Louche said...

It's 'dogme' BTW. I think Lars Von Trier hates women. All his films show women being tortured in some way - what kind of sick fuck is he?

I did think Dancer in the Dark was extraordinary, but not one for repeat viewing.

Dogme film The Celebration is awesome, but that was directed by Thomas Vinterberg. ANd does not feature a woman hacking her clitoris off.

kitten said...

Charlotte Gainsborough just won best actress at Cannes, just like Isabelle Huppert did. I think you have to pretend to hack off your clitoris to win at Cannes, whereas for an Oscar you just have to don makeup and look "ugly".

I did like Dogville though, and that is saying something considering I can't stand Nicole Kidman. Although perhaps that why I liked it - seeing her being degraded and abused.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.