In May 2011, Cannes Film Festival reacted to director Lars Von Trier’s “jokes” about Nazis and Jewish people by banning the director. They allowed his film Melancholia to compete and then largely ignored him for the last seven years. But now, much like Mel Gibson, Von Trier has paid his debt to whatever societal mores Cannes felt was wronged when the director uttered the words, “If I’d been a Jew, then I would be a second-wave Jew, a kind of a new-wave Jew, but anyway, I really wanted to be a Jew and then I found out that I was really a Nazi.” He was allowed to submit a film to Cannes 2018! Yay?
The movie The House That Jack Built premiered at the film festival today.
U.S.A. in the 1970s. We follow the highly intelligent Jack through 5 incidents and are introduced to the murders that define Jack’s development as a serial killer. We experience the story from Jack’s point of view. He views each murder as an artwork in itself, even though his dysfunction gives him problems in the outside world.
Despite the fact that the final and inevitable police intervention is drawing ever near (which both provokes and puts pressure on Jack) he is - contrary to all logic - set on taking greater and greater chances. The goal is the ultimate artwork: A collection of all his killings manifested in a House that he builds. Along the way we experience Jack’s descriptions of his personal condition, problems and thoughts through a recurring conversation with the unknown Verge — a grotesque mixture of sophistry mixed with an almost childlike self-pity and in-depth explanations of, for Jack, dangerous and difficult maneuvers. via Collider
To say that the famously persnickety Cannes audience was not pleased would be an understatement.
I’ve never seen anything like this at a film festival. More than 100 people have walked out of Lars von Trier’s ‘The House That Jack Built,’ which depicts the mutilation of women and children. “It’s disgusting,” one woman said on her way out. #Cannes2018 pic.twitter.com/GsBGCoyHEG— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) May 14, 2018
Just left Lars Von Trier's The House that Jack Built.— The Oscar Predictor (@OscarPredictor) May 14, 2018
Gross. Pretentious. Vomitive. Torturous. Pathetic. #Cannes2018
Walked out on LarsvonTrier . Vile movie. Should not have been made. Actors culpable— Showbiz 411 (@showbiz411) May 14, 2018
Seeing a lot of “what were they expecting?!” in regards to disgust at the Lars von Trier movie.— Russ Fischer (@russfischer) May 14, 2018
Understanding a filmmaker’s general leanings and being repulsed by a specific piece of work are not mutually exclusive.
Talked to someone who walked out of the Lars von Trier film at Cannes: "He mutilates Riley Keough, he mutilates children… and we are all there in formal dress expected to watch it?"— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) May 14, 2018
Lars von Trier’s ‘The House That Jack Built’ was one of the most unpleasant movie-going experiences of my life. #Cannes2018— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) May 14, 2018
Aside from the grotesque violence reported by the viewers, Von Trier was also nice enough to name all of his male characters and refer to the women as numbers.