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Lars von Trier

Lars von Trier

Lars von Trier was born in 1956 and graduated from The Danish Film School in 1983.

He is widely considered to be the prime mover behind the current revival of Danish filmmaking and has made a significant impact on a new generation of directors both in his home country and around the world, not least because of his central role in Dogme95.

Von Trier's film work ranges from the avant-garde to reinterpretations of classical genres. His earliest shorts were stylistically inventive explorations of themes and symbols that would later play a central role in his feature films and Von Trier developed a mode of cinematic expression that was at once heavily symbolic and emotionally intense.

Lars von Trier established himself both in Denmark and internationally with the Europa Trilogy. Illuminating the traumas of Europe in the future, the Europa Trilogy is characterized by a personal, experimental style of filmmaking.

The trilogy consists of:


In 1991, Lars von Trier and Europa producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen established their own company, Zentropa Entertainments, which has grown to become a leading force in Scandinavian film production.

Lars von Trier has made two TV productions: MEDEA in 1988 and THE KINGDOM I & ll in 1994 and 1997, the latter co-directed with Morten Arnfred. It was with THE KINGDOM series that Lars von Trier created a technical style which made it easier to focus on the story and the actors.

It was an insight that would later draw him to the Dogme concept. THE KINGDOM was shot mostly with a hand-held camera, ignoring the usual rules of lighting, continuity and editing, resulting in distorted colours and grainy pictures. The series became von Trier¹s first huge popular success. The level of Danish and international interest in THE KINGDOM made it possible for von Trier and his producers Peter Aalbæk Jensen and Vibeke Windeløv to fund his next big project.

The second trilogy, The Golden-Heart Trilogy, was inspired by a sentimental children's book from von Trier's childhood about a little girl who is always ready to sacrifice herself to help others.

This trilogy consists of:


In 1995, Lars von Trier presented the Dogme95 Manifesto with its Vow of Chastity laying down 10 rules for filmmaking. The manifesto was signed by von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg (FESTEN, winner of the Special Jury Prize in Cannes).

All of Lars von Trier's feature films have been officially selected by the Cannes International Film Festival and they have been awarded seven prizes, including the Grand Prix du Jury for BREAKING THE WAVES and the Palme d'Or for DANCER IN THE DARK. His feature films and his work for television have won a host of international prizes, including an Oscar nomination for Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves.

Lars von Trier is currently working on his third trilogy USA -- land of opportunities of which DOGVILLE is the first film. The second part of the trilogy, MANDERLAY, is currently in pre-production in Filmbyen, Denmark.

In 2006 Lars von Trier will add another dimension to his career when he directs Richard Wagner's Das Ring Des Nibelung at the Bayreuth Festspiele in Germany. Pre-production for the opera has already begun.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Lars von Trier Facts

Birth NameLars Trier
BirthdayApril 30, 1956 (67)
BirthplaceCopenhagen, Denmark

Selected Filmography

The Unheavenly Host
Nymphomaniac: Volume I
Nymphomaniac: Extended Director's Cut Volume 1 & 2
Nymphomaniac: Volume II
Breaking the Waves
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