As Melancholia Crashes Into New York, Lars Von Trier Begins His Vow of Silence

Ms. Dunst, last night.

“Oh, well, you know, Lars,” Kirsten Dunst was saying to The Observer last night, at a party for Bulgari in Soho. “He kind of does his own thing. He doesn’t come to the States, he doesn’t –“

Crash! An errant arm had laid into the row of rosé glasses beside Ms. Dunst, interrupting our conversation about Lars von Trier, the director of her new film, Melancholia, which we had seen the night before. Socialite — and former Observer writer — Jessica Joffe went to fetch napkins for the mess, and with that our talk about her performance, and the film, ended. More pressing was the need for more Moet.

Is there much to discuss, really? The film kind of shuts you up. Some flaws in pacing and character aside —  the, um, explosiveness makes them easy to overlook — it’s a glorious dismantling of terrestrial cores and emotional cores, an expansive vision set to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. It’s a film that sweeps itself off its feet.

The film’s auteur, well, people have a lot to say about him. His “I’m a Nazi” moment at Cannes basically overshadowed the film, despite its accolades. Apologies didn’t help, and neither did a feature story in GQ in which the reporter and director watch footage of the infamous interview.

…What can I say? I understand Hitler…

“Oh fuck.”

…he did some wrong things…

“That’s an understatement…”

…I sympathize with him…

“Oh fuck…”

We don’t make it to the end.

There won’t be any more interviews after that. Now that Mr. von Trier is being investigated by French authorities for possible justification of war crimes, which the director revealed today, he has decided to zip it up for the foreseeable future. Here’s the press release in full.

Today at 2 pm I was questioned by the Police of North Zealand in connection with charges made by the prosecution of Grasse in France from August 2011 regarding a possible violation of prohibition in French law against justification of war crimes. The investigation covers comments made during the press conference in Cannes in May 2011. Due to these serious accusations I have realized that I do not possess the skills to express myself unequivocally and I have therefore decided from this day forth to refrain from all public statements and interviews.”

Lars von Trier
Avedøre, 5. October 2011

With a big Fall film to promote, it’s not the best time for a director to go silent. But he’s got Ms. Dunst and her co-stars, Alexander Skarsgard and Charlotte Gainsbourg, to handle that. They were in full force after the premiere Monday, when The Observer stopped by the after party at Stone Rose Lounge and ended up drinking way too many of those apple-sweet DeLeon Tequila cocktails. It happens!

Of course the fuss over controversial comments doesn’t matter. The film speaks for itself. And see it on an enormous screen, for God’s sake. Planet earth explodes. It happens twice, actually. Your laptop speakers just don’t suffice.

As Melancholia Crashes Into New York, Lars Von Trier Begins His Vow of Silence