Before Lars Von Trier left Cannes this spring, banned from ever attending again due to his unfortunate comments during the “Melancholia” press conference, the director made waves for a much more positive reason. It was announced that he was teaming with Martin Scorsese to do another version of “The Five Obstructions” with reports indicating it would shoot in early 2012.
The 2003 original involved Von Trier challenging his mentor, filmmaker Jørgen Leth, to remake his 1967 picture “The Perfect Human,” a favorite of the younger director, five times, with different conditions, or “obstructions” each time: in Cuba, with no shot lasting more than 12 frames’ in “the worst place in the world” but without showing that place; in any way he chooses (as a punishment); as a cartoon; and in something of a twist, a version already made by Von Trier himself, but with narration from Leth. While there was no word what film Von Trier was going to pick out of Scorsese’s extensive catalog the pairing alone caused cinephiles worldwide to go wild. However, in the wake of Von Trier’s Nazi comments many speculated that Scorsese would balk at working with him and word around the project grew quiet. Well, Von Trier is now casting doubt on the film, noting that Scorsese is still involved but both their busy calendars could keep them from tackling “The Five Obstructions.”
“Marty is busy and so am I, and I don’t know if it will happen – I sincerely hope it will,” Trier said at a Q&A during a retrospective of his films at Kino Babylon in Berlin (via THR). Bummer. But we’ll keep our fingers crossed because we’d love to see Scorsese mix it up with Von Trier — it’s a creative exercise that we think Marty would thrive on. But while Von Trier wants for that to play out, he’s prepping his arthouse porno thingy “The Nymphomaniac” and seems to be getting off on the research.
“Nymphomaniac – I’m writing, and I’m having such a great time,” he said. “I’m talking to all the ladies I knew when I was young, who are now 50 and 60, and if you take a woman of 50 or 60 who has been sexually active, they will talk for hours. And this is fantastic, it’s a pleasure and I smile all the way, and that’s why I want to extend the research time. You have no idea how dirty the female mind is!” Details still remain scant on the project, other than he’s approach Stellan Skarsgard and Willem Dafoe for roles and that it will center on “the erotic life of a woman from the age of zero to the age of 50.”
But being in Berlin didn’t stop Lars from once again making some Nazi comments. “Some German journalists interviewed me, and I told them the French are the real Nazis, and they really liked that,” he said. Sigh. But wait there’s more. “There was a point to this whole thing. I think history shows that we are all Nazis somewhere, and there are a lot of things that can be suddenly set free, and the mechanics behind this setting-free is something we really should really investigate, and the way we do not investigate it is to make it a taboo to talk about it.”
Von Trier needs to hire some handlers or something because he’s just continually digging his own grave and mostly sounds like some pretentious college kid who thinks their post-modern, ironic cynicism allows them to get away with outlandish and/or infantile comments. We love you Lars, but enough.