Last week, the 71st Cannes Film Festival kicked off, and oh, how ignorant we all were, thinking that Lars von Trier wouldn’t make waves in his return to the fiesta of film, after being declared “persona non grata” at the 64th edition of the festival.
A few days ago, the Danish director premiered his serial killer drama The House That Jack Built and, well, let’s just say, the screening was met with a divisive reception. Called “tortuous,” “vile,” and “one of the most unpleasant movie-going experiences of my life,” it’s believed that an estimated half of those in attendance at the 2,400-seat Grand Théâtre Lumière, headed for the exits prematurely.
Judging by von Trier’s response to the mass walkout, however, this was precisely the reaction he wanted, telling Cineuropa that “[the walkouts and audible groans] made me very relaxed.” According to the Antichrist and Dogville director:
“It’s quite important not to be loved by everybody because then you’ve failed. I’m not sure if they hated it enough, though. If it gets too popular, I’ll have a problem. The reception seemed just about right, I think. In any case, this one was a pleasure to write.”
Then, in a comment that’s sure to get a rise out of those infuriated by the film’s controversial visuals, Trier hilariously said, “I don’t know too much about serial killers, but I do know a bit about psychopaths. And I’ve never killed anyone myself… If I do, it will probably be a journalist.”
The House That Jack Built, which stars Academy Award nominee Matt Dillon as a serial killer who “views each of his murders as a work of art,” released a trio of clips yesterday – if you’ve got the stomach for it. I’m just kidding, the footage contains none of the wildly overstated gory grandeur that sent at least one hundred patrons running for the hills, but if you want a look at what von Trier’s cooked up, be sure to check it out.