Lars von Trier’s ‘gross’ and ‘torturous’ film prompts walkout

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Lars von Trier Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lars von Trier: Ruffling feathers again at Cannes

Provocateur Lars von Trier is under fire again after a screening of his film, The House That Jack Built, prompted dozens to walk out.

Starring Matt Dillon as a serial killer, one reporter, Roger Friedman said it was a “vile movie. Should not have been made. Actors also culpable”.

Another tweeted: “Gross. Pretentious. Vomitive. Torturous. Pathetic.”

Dillon plays an architect who kills several women and children in gruesome fashion. Uma Thurman also stars.

Von Trier had been banned from the festival for seven years for comments he made in a press conference for his sci-fi film Melancholia.

The Danish film-maker pushed organisers too far when he said (as a joke it was later assumed) he was a Nazi.

Now, with The House That Jack Built, the offence has gone further – into the throng of the gathered press.

In one scene, as the killer Jack mutilates a girlfriend, he says: “Why is it always the man’s fault…

“If you are born male you are born to be guilty. Think of the injustice of that.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lars von Trier (centre) and some of those involved in the The House That Jack Built attended the film’s Cannes premiere

There is also a scene in which he practises amateur taxidermy on one of his victims.

Variety reporter Ramin Setoodeh said more than 100 people walked out of the Cannes screening.

The Hollywood Reporter called the film “an autoerotic ego massage… often as inane as it is unsettling”.

It said it was a direct rebuttal “to the current climate of reckoning over gender bias and sexual misconduct”.

The film also featured images of Hitler and other mass-murdering dictators.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lars von Trier at Cannes with Melancholia’s star Kirsten Dunst – before he was banned

Von Trier’s ban in 2011 was after he said of Hitler: “He’s not what you would call a good guy but I understand him. I sympathise with him a little bit.”

The film’s star Kirsten Dunst, sitting beside him at the time, also didn’t look impressed with the director’s statement

The House That Jack Built’s producer told the BBC on Monday: “It’s not too bloody. Of course we have some graphic images, but they’re very short and very few. It’s more about the psychological side of evilness. I think there’ll be a huge reaction to the film.”

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