Lars von Trier’s ‘The House That Jack Built’ Shocks at Cannes Film Festival

Lars von Trier is a provocative and somewhat controversial director with an inconsistent filmography. Films such as Dogville and Antichrist are experimental, enticing, and visually engaging, but they’re also unpleasant and maddeningly misanthropic.

Von Trier has made a career out of dividing opinions and his talents have seen him win several awards at Cannes Film Festival, including the Palme d’Or (for Dancer in the Dark), the Grand Prix (for Breaking the Waves), the Prix du Jury (Europa), and the Technical Grand Prize (for The Element of Crime and Europa). His most recent film – The House That Jack Built – began filming in Sweden in March 2017, but on this occasion the Cannes audience have been anything but supportive.

The House That Jack Built, starring Uma Thurman (left) and Matt Dillon (right)

Last night, at the world premiere of the serial-killer thriller, audience members walked out in numbers due to the supposedly offensive and pretentious nature of the material. In his review, Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian described the film as “an ordeal of gruesomeness and tiresomeness that was every bit as exasperating as I had feared”, and Charlie Angela of Al Jazeera explained her decision to exit the screening by tweeting: “seeing children being shot and killed is not art or entertainment”.

Such statements are a damning indictment of the film and the nihilistic eye which von Trier continues to cast towards humanity, but this kind of publicity could see The House That Jack Built become far more relevant than it otherwise would’ve been.

In any case, the film is set to release internationally on November 29th 2018 and stars recognisable faces such as Uma Thurman, Matt Dillon, and Riley Keough.


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