Confessions

Lars von Trier's Bizarre Kingdom (Finally) Cometh

The Danish filmmaker talks bringing his nightmarish hospital trilogy to an end, twenty-five years after the last instalment.

Lars von Trier has wrapped up his surreal hospital series The Kingdom (or Riget). The first season was aired in Denmark in 1994, becoming a cult programme in the vein of Twin Peaks. The latest, The Kingdom Exodus (now streaming on MUBI) comes twenty-five-years after the season two finale. In this Q&A, the ever-eccentric and elusive Lars von Trier explains how he completed his trilogy and what he plans on doing next.

What made you want to come back to The Kingdom?

LvT: I was in a state, a mental state, kind of a depression. And the only way to get out of that I know is to do something. And then I looked back on all my trilogies that are only two films. And I felt that The Kingdom was the easiest one [to complete], which it turned out not to be. It took four years.

How did it feel to get back behind the camera after making 2018’s The House That Jack Built?

LvT: I didn’t know that I was having symptoms from this Parkinson’s disease that I unfortunately found. So it was not so pleasant. I feel I let the project down a little bit. But I did what I could.

So was it physically quite a struggle? 

LvT: Yeah, sure. And mentally also, because I didn’t know what disease it was, and it was a little complicated to find out.

When you first made The Kingdom, you were inspired partly by Belphegor, Phantom of the Louvre. Do you remember what sort of impact that made on you when you were young?

LvT: Yeah, enormous. I hadn’t seen any television series at that time. And I thought a lot about [it] before I started The Kingdom, because the idea to have a film that takes place in the Louvre was good, because there were so many worlds inside the building, and I tried to find something similar. And it ended up at a hospital.

So you didn’t think of just doing a strict remake of that series?

LvT: No, I wouldn’t be able to. I was very small when I saw it. But it was fascinating.

So what gave you the idea of originally setting it in a hospital? Does it come from a fear of such institutions from when you were young?

LvT: Well, yes, I’m quite sure. But I was talking on the phone to the producer and the producer said to me “You have to come up with a title.” And then I looked out the window and there lay the Kingdom hospital. And I said “It’s gonna be The Kingdom. Didn’t I tell you?”

Do you feel this new season is very different to the earlier seasons? 

LvT: I would say that we focus more on humour than horror. Also because the script was quite long and we had a time issue. So horror is something that you need time to develop. Whereas humour is something you can present in a much shorter scene.

 

When it comes to horror, we see an eyeball removed from its socket. What led to this?

LvT: Well, the nerve is not as long as we showed it. But it’s like this. And I heard a story, because I know some doctors, about a little girl that kept losing sight in one of her eyes. And then they found out that she took her eye out every day. So it was kind of self-harm. And I didn’t think it would be possible…but it is.

This season is certainly more meta. What led to that?

LvT: All these years had gone by. So the only way I could find out to make a new start was to say that Karen in the film watches the old episodes on TV.

What do you think Karen’s journey is through this season? How would you describe it?

LvT: Confused! Like the audience.

READ THE REST HERE

BY Jason Solomons

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confessions

Lars von Trier's Bizarre Kingdom (Finally) Cometh

The Danish filmmaker talks bringing his nightmarish hospital trilogy to an end, twenty-five years after the last instalment.

Lars von Trier has wrapped up his surreal hospital series The Kingdom (or Riget). The first season was aired in Denmark in 1994, becoming a cult programme in the vein of Twin Peaks. The latest, The Kingdom Exodus (now streaming on MUBI) comes twenty-five-years after the season two finale. In this Q&A, the ever-eccentric and elusive Lars von Trier explains how he completed his trilogy and what he plans on doing next.

What made you want to come back to The Kingdom?

LvT: I was in a state, a mental state, kind of a depression. And the only way to get out of that I know is to do something. And then I looked back on all my trilogies that are only two films. And I felt that The Kingdom was the easiest one [to complete], which it turned out not to be. It took four years.

How did it feel to get back behind the camera after making 2018’s The House That Jack Built?

LvT: I didn’t know that I was having symptoms from this Parkinson’s disease that I unfortunately found. So it was not so pleasant. I feel I let the project down a little bit. But I did what I could.

So was it physically quite a struggle? 

LvT: Yeah, sure. And mentally also, because I didn’t know what disease it was, and it was a little complicated to find out.

When you first made The Kingdom, you were inspired partly by Belphegor, Phantom of the Louvre. Do you remember what sort of impact that made on you when you were young?

LvT: Yeah, enormous. I hadn’t seen any television series at that time. And I thought a lot about [it] before I started The Kingdom, because the idea to have a film that takes place in the Louvre was good, because there were so many worlds inside the building, and I tried to find something similar. And it ended up at a hospital.

So you didn’t think of just doing a strict remake of that series?

LvT: No, I wouldn’t be able to. I was very small when I saw it. But it was fascinating.

So what gave you the idea of originally setting it in a hospital? Does it come from a fear of such institutions from when you were young?

LvT: Well, yes, I’m quite sure. But I was talking on the phone to the producer and the producer said to me “You have to come up with a title.” And then I looked out the window and there lay the Kingdom hospital. And I said “It’s gonna be The Kingdom. Didn’t I tell you?”

Do you feel this new season is very different to the earlier seasons? 

LvT: I would say that we focus more on humour than horror. Also because the script was quite long and we had a time issue. So horror is something that you need time to develop. Whereas humour is something you can present in a much shorter scene.

 

When it comes to horror, we see an eyeball removed from its socket. What led to this?

LvT: Well, the nerve is not as long as we showed it. But it’s like this. And I heard a story, because I know some doctors, about a little girl that kept losing sight in one of her eyes. And then they found out that she took her eye out every day. So it was kind of self-harm. And I didn’t think it would be possible…but it is.

This season is certainly more meta. What led to that?

LvT: All these years had gone by. So the only way I could find out to make a new start was to say that Karen in the film watches the old episodes on TV.

What do you think Karen’s journey is through this season? How would you describe it?

LvT: Confused! Like the audience.

READ THE REST HERE

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