Beautiful, brilliant, hallucinatory filmmaking highlights this strange tale of Leopold (Barr), an American who goes to Germany in the days following WWII to work as a sleeping car conductor on the country’s railways. Leopold gets mixed up with neo-NAZI saboteurs through his romantic involvement with the railroad magnate’s seductive daughter. All the way through, this is dazzling filmmaking, embellished with Max von Sydow’s unforgettable, mesmeric voice-over: “On the count of ten, you will be in Europa…I say…ten!”
Lars von Trier makes deliriously inventive use of rear projection, mixed film stocks and atmospheric sound to bring his story to powerful psychological and emotional life. Among the movie’s one-of-a-kind highlights: Leopold’s underwater finale, when von Trier’s wields suspense like a slowly tightening winch, and the suicide of the old man in the tub, shot through the water with the droplets of crimson blood spreading over the black-and-white rippling of water. Zentropa is an awe-inspiring cinema experience, and my favorite von Trier film thus far: it’s an unusual mixed media synthesis, blending classical film techniques with a very forward-thinking experimental sensibility. Not to be missed by any film buff, catch this one on the big screen!
Directed by: Lars von Trier
Written by: Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel
Cast: Jean-Marc Barr, Barbara Sukowa, Udo Kier, Ernst-Hugo Järegård, Erik Mørk, Jørgen Reenberg, Henning Jensen, Eddie Constantine