This post is part of the LAMB directors chair for Von Trier
First off, let me say i am not a fan of the directors personality. However, that does not mean i think his films should be dismissed without merit. While most of his films are depressing, but i don’t believe that is a negative. I can deal with depressing when done right,and i think Von Trier does this consistently for the most part(Personally i kind of feel Antichrist gets overshadowed by its most infamous scene). Also, he gets some amazing performances out of his leads. I will admit his shaky cam style gets annoying at times, although his more recent films don’t feature that nearly as much. And now i will list some of my favorite Von Trier films
DogvilleThe use of a soundstage may seem odd at first, but what makes this movie worth watching is its fascinating look at human nature. It shows how quickly people can turn on and take advantage of each other when given the opportunity,something that still happens today sadly.
Dancer in the DarkProbably one of the saddest musicals ever, the combination of upbeat music sequences mixed in with the dark story makes for a interesting combination. Trier’s talent for getting great performances is also fully on display here, as Bjork isn’t known for acting.
Breaking the WavesA twisted tale of sexual discover, small town paranoia, and religion. The ambiguity of whether Jan truly wants Bess to do the things he asks of her or whether its due to his injury also adds a interesting element to the movie. The film tackles many themes, such as what some people will do for love, and how people can be quick to condemn what they don’t understand without going for simplistic answers.
MelancholiaProbably triers most accessible film(from what i’ve seen anyways). It manages to have the happiest ending i’ve seen in a Von trier film, and also lacks the brutality found in most of his works. It is also a bit more stylized than most of Von trier’s recent work.
EuropaWith striking visuals, it is obvious this was made before Trier got involved in the Dogma 95 movement. However, this does mark the beginning of the typical plot of a Von trier film. A innocent/child like soul ends up manipulated and taken advantage of by a unfair world. While this out does feel a bit too indulgent for my tastes, i think it is one worth watching.
The Element of CrimeAnother film with striking visuals, the reason i put this under honorable mentions is because while i like the directing in this one, the script i feel is uneven.