Lars shocks them at Cannes

Carla Harmon
May 15, 2018

Advance word on the film suggested that it would feature scenes of sadistic violence and brutality, with Cannes director Thierry Fremaux saying that it featured "a subject so controversial" that it could only appear in an out-of-competition slot at the festival. And guess what, the reactions to his latest piece of provocation, the gruesome serial killer drama The House That Jack Built, did not disappoint. The scene that initially led to dozens of walkouts involved Dillon's character shooting a hunting rifle at two small children, as he blows their heads off.

By the end of the film, the balcony of the theatre was half empty. That was outrageous even for this concerted controversialist, whose films have featured sexual degradation and genital mutilation and who has been known to strip naked in front of his actors and torment them psychologically.

As an interesting sidenote, those who soldiered through The House That Jack Built reportedly gave it a standing ovation. "So it's violent, but I think it's good". And I do like several of von Trier's films, including Antichrist and Melancholia. Now, von Trier has been given permission to return to Cannes, and he's doing so with The House That Jack Built. "It's disgusting", one woman said on her way out", he tweeted. It's going to be hard to judge the movie without seeing it, but it looks like Lars Von Trier has "won" already - he's caused debate and disgust. According to reports, hundreds of viewers left the screening and called it "vomitive" and "vile", to name just a few of the most moderate comments.

Critical response to The House That Jack Built has been largely negative. Uma Thurman, Bruno Ganz ("The Vatican", "Downfall") and Elvis Presley's granddaughter Riley Keough ("Mad Max: Fury Road", "Logan Lucky") also star in the Jake the Ripper-inspired tale of a 12-year investigation into multiple murders in the 1970s.

We experience the story from Jack's point of view, while he postulates each murder is an artwork in itself.

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