Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Element of Crime (1984)

Orange and black. Yellow and red.

These colors are the sum of Lars von Trier's debut feature, which put him on the map as one of our time's most visionary directors. And his vision was a very visual one, with a 'style over substance' philosophy that just about abolished the plot. Early hints of his more recent experimentations with theatrics are also to be found, in the form of blunt performances by actors who are merely saying their lines because the script demands there be some progress.

But this does not make it a lesser experience, far from it. Rather, it adds to the dreamy atmosphere of a post apocalyptic past, where nothing is normal, yet everything belongs.

Like rain drops sending signals through flooded libraries and sweat making bald heads glisten under swinging lamps. Fires on the banks of rusty docklands, and ashes of life-long devotion floating still in the air. Crumpled cars that looks like they were in a shootout with rubber bullets, and several voice-overs fighting to take control of the images.


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