Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier has given his first interview since 2011, after he has been sober for three months and attending daily Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
“I don’t know if I can make more films, and that worries me,” he told journalist Nils Thorsen of Denmark’s Politiken newspaper; “I have reached an age (58) at which one would like to hand something on.”
The director explained that almost all his films had been written under the influence of alcohol or drugs - he put himself in a special state by drinking a bottle of vodka a day and taking ‘a drug,’ to enter ‘a parallel world’ where ideas develop. “There is no creative expression of artistic value that has even produced by ex-drunkards and ex-drug addicts,” he declared. Now on the wagon, he was afraid that he has run dry as an artist and can only make ‘shitty films.’
The script for Dogville (2003), which won two European Film Awards, was drafted during a 12-day high, while Nymphomaniac - the only movie he wrote when dry - took 18 months. “Obviously, the parallel world has its price, but I got an enormous amount out of it. Just like all the artists I have respected the most. They have also wallowed in all sorts of mind-expanding drugs,” who would not recommend alcohol or drugs to anyone, but did not regret having used them in the creative process.
Von Trier gagged himself after being interrogated by Danish police about the accusation by the local prosecutor in Grasse, France, that he had violated French legislation against glorifying war crimes at the press conference after the screening of his film, Melancholia, at the Cannes film festival in 2011.
“… but then I found out I was actually a Nazi. My family were German. And that also gave me some pleasure. What can I say? I understand Hitler … I sympathise with him a bit. Now how can I get out of this sentence? OK, I’m a Nazi,” were some of his remarks at the Palais des Festivals.
On Oct 5, 2011, he issued a press release through his publicist, concluding that “on the background of this serious charge I must realise that I am unable to express myself unambiguously. Accordingly I have decided that from now on I will refrain from any public statement, and concentrate on my films.”
He has since launched his award-winning Nymphomaniac: Vol 1, Vol 2 (2013), later in a director’s cut (of which Vol 2 is nominated for the European Film Award), without giving any interviews or speaking about it to the press. Only when he received this year’s Film Award Cologne (Oct 10), at the Cologne International Film and TV Festival, he talked. “I have not spoken in public for three years, so I prepared a few words: Thank you very much.”
The full Politiken interview can be read here.