The world’s most prestigious film festival generally has that one shocking film every year, which scandalises the audience with its nudity, violence or both. And more often than not it’s a film by controversial Danish filmmaker, Lars Von Trier. This year it’s his latest The House That Jack Built which is sending viewers scurrying to the toilet. To puke. Reportedly, more than a hundred people walked out of the film’s screening because of the shocking violence on display.
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
Von Trier’s film follows the story of a highly intelligent serial killer, who goes about developing newer ways at hacking his victims, majorly comprising women. Oh, and some children too.
Just left Lars Von Trier’s The House that Jack Built.
Gross. Pretentious. Vomitive. Torturous. Pathetic. #Cannes2018
— The Oscar Predictor (@OscarPredictor) May 14, 2018
Walked out on LarsvonTrier . Vile movie. Should not have been made. Actors culpable
— Showbiz 411 (@showbiz411) May 14, 2018
The most recognisable faces in The House That Jack Built are that of Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz (of Downfall fame) and Uma Thurman. Dillon plays the titular role of Jack, with a victim count of close to 60 over 12 years. The film is set in the 70s and 80s America, and was initially concieved as a TV series. Like most of Von Trier’s films – it is getting polarised reactions for the sadistic brutality on display over the film’s running time.
Considering Lars Von Trier’s reputation with films like Antichrist and Nymphomaniac – it isn’t hard to comprehend the reaction towards his latest film. The Danish filmmaker revels in these extreme reactions. And therefore, it isn’t hard to imagine a section of the audience who consider the director a genius, while the other sections aren’t too impressed with the way he uses nudity and extreme violence as a gimmick.
Von Trier is making a comeback to Cannes, after he was ousted following an ill-timed joke about being a Nazi sympathiser in 2011.
It’s not all bad though for The House That Jack Built, there are some who are hailing the film as Von Trier’s best. Of course, this is the audience that can stomach the gore and the violence. And maybe as a work of art, Von Trier intentionally wanted to elicit such reactions from the audience. The mass walk-outs could also mean that it is a great film, based on how far you’re willing to indulge a filmmaker’s love for explicit violence.
We’ll have to watch and decide, and for now the film seems to have done its job about piquing interest among the general public.