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the house that jack built

Robyn · 59 · 5730

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eward

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Reply #45 on: December 23, 2018, 10:39:41 AM
This managed to be a course correction from Nymphomaniac while still using some of its elements (with its narration and stock footage lectures). So that's impressive. I did feel like I was listening to an audiobook at some points, but in the end it worked. I think Von Trier would do well to set most of that aside, though. Maybe steer back toward Melancholia/Antichrist or do something new.

I agree with wilder. This was a straight-up dark comedy. Not even a horror comedy, really. And not even comic like Funny Games. Just 100% Von Trier. The song choice for the end credits does make that a little too obvious, though, for viewers who might not have known how to interpret the tone.

In the end I'm not totally sure how to feel. I have really high standards for LVT films, especially with my post-Nymphomaniac trepidation. I didn't dislike any of it, and there were some truly marvelous sequences. Whether it's much more than the sum of its parts, I can't say. I'll have to let this sink in a bit.

SPOILERS

So, LVT went out of his way to make Jack a bit of an MRA and a neo-Nazi. Nice. A little on-the-nose, but nice. I think I actually prefer that to moral ambiguity. Jack's house is not a place where subtlety lives. (That's my RT pull quote.) I also enjoyed that Jack's efforts to be high-minded and philosophical are ridiculous and are characterized as such. Direct parallel to Tom Edison in Dogville.

Glad you liked it! My ecstatic praise following the first screening of the director's cut has been tempered somewhat by several follow-up viewings of the r-rated cut, so while I still really like it and admire it, I have to admit it doesn't quite reach the same (ridiculously high) heights of his best work, but then again I'm not sure it's trying to either. And I agree that the digressions are more successfully implemented here than in Nympho (which I think would have worked far better as a whole if they had just kept it confined to Vol. 1 - Vol. 2, aside from the Jamie Bell scenes, which are fascinating, contains probably the worst material of von Trier's career, and I say that as maybe the ultimate von Trier apologist.) But yes, I hope he's got all that more or less out of his system, too. I think he's ready to shake it up again. He says he's planning to do ten successive experimental ten-minute films next, who knows what that will lead to?

Also, is it just me, or does he seem really frail these days? He's only what 62, but he gives the impression of a much older man.
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samsong

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Reply #46 on: December 26, 2018, 06:33:01 PM
liked this a lot, though i didn't find it nearly as funny as most of you seem to have.  as far as von trier goes, i think the idiots is funnier, which is really just to say he's proven himself capable of comedy in the past so i don't necessarily see this as revelatory.  anyway, really good, dillon is great, but i'll stand in my corner touting nymphomaniac as the best film of von trier's output since dogville.


Robyn

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Reply #47 on: January 05, 2019, 07:06:08 AM
This is the follow up to The Early Years: Erik Nietzsche (Part 1) that we all have been waiting for. People who are saying that this might be Trier's last film are wrong. Weren't you all paying attention in the end when Jack (Lars) finally opened the door to a different kind of murder (filmmaking), putting marks on the floor so he could focus his victims. There will be no more handheld camera in future Trier projects! lol

I understand why people walked out of it, some of the build up and actually murders were hard to stomach to me because it felt more real than the surrealism of Antichrist, but he took every incident so far that it became comedy in the end. It wasn't as ambitious as his other films, but like Jack overcoming his OCD in the film, he seems to have reached a point in his career where he isn't as nitpicky about his projects anymore.  From the approach he had making Antichrist, to the sprawlingness of Nymphomaniac and now this, it seems to me that he is just doing what he enjoys without overthinking it too much. The result is 100% Trier, as JB said earlier. How you react to the mental image of Trier's smirk facial expression during the end credit song will probably sum up your feelings about this film as well. Even the humor here is mostly Trier poking fun at himself.

It won't win over any new fans, but I liked it a lot. He continues to be a filmmaker who's ambiguity will make people talk. The monologue Jack gave to his girlfriend before cutting of her tits perfectly captured that. That's a weird sentence to write, but Trier is pretty fucking weird filmmaker these days as well.


The Ultimate Badass

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Reply #48 on: January 05, 2019, 08:35:33 PM
To the few that have seen both the R-rated version and the Director's Cut:

Is the Director's Cut significantly different enough from, and superior to the R version that it's worth waiting until it's released to see this?


Drenk

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Reply #49 on: January 05, 2019, 08:38:51 PM
To the few that have seen both the R-rated version and the Director's Cut:

Is the Director's Cut significantly different enough from, and superior to the R version that it's worth waiting until it's released to see this?

eward described the changes as "cosmetic": the movie is mostly more gruesome.
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eward

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Reply #50 on: January 06, 2019, 08:51:22 AM
Yeah, as far as I could tell (I was tipsy when I saw the unrated cut and stone sober when I saw the R, so I might have missed some things) it’s just gorier and lingers on some of the acts of violence a bit longer. Typically pointless American cuts, I’d say - doesn’t make much of a difference in terms of overall impact; which of course begs the question, why include it in the first place? Which in turns begs another question, why *not* include it? Violence is horrible, depict it honestly.

Also the Unrated Cut includes a fun video intro by Trier in which he salutes us “Brave Americans” before proceeding to rip Trump.
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csage97

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Reply #51 on: January 08, 2019, 05:06:30 AM
Hmmm, maybe this isn't the best thing to watch when I'm lying in bed trying to rest and pass the time with the flu -- but hey, I'll give it a go. I've actually never seen an LVT film (thought about watching some of them, but then stepped away).


wilder

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Reply #52 on: January 08, 2019, 05:17:21 AM
Flu aside, the film relies on audience familiarity with Von Trier’s work and persona to create context for the character of Jack and his story, so making this your first foray into LVT’s filmography might be a mistake? Would recommend at least watching Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, and Dogville, beforehand, which the movie is partially in conversation with.


csage97

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Reply #53 on: January 08, 2019, 05:34:42 AM
Flu aside, the film relies on audience familiarity with Von Trier’s work and persona to create context for the character of Jack and his story, so making this your first foray into LVT’s filmography might be a mistake? Would recommend at least watching Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, and Dogville, beforehand.

I see .... I'd say I'm no stranger to black comedy or strange humor (the crux of my successfully befriending someone usually relies on my weird jokes or references not going over their head), and I suppose I'm familiar with some of the concepts and controversies of LVT's previous films (Nymphomaniac, the joking Nazi comments, etc.). However, if this one does rely on some more knowledge of his background and work, I'll save it and start with those you mentioned.


wilder

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Reply #54 on: January 08, 2019, 05:48:47 AM
That’s a lot of it, but in some ways The House That Jack Built is also the inverse of many of his previous features...

(Inconsequential spoilers):

Quote from: Letterboxd user Eren Odabasi

Most importantly, there is the questioning of the suffering Jack causes for women. This has been the biggest criticism of his work over the years. In Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Antichrist women are always the ones who are tortured by the men around them.

Here, for the first time, the film is not about the ones who suffer, but it is about the person who makes them suffer. Not a portrayal of the suffering of others, but only of the (troubled, even sick) mind that inflicts that suffering. In this sense, it is the most honest and direct work of Von Trier’s career.

And when he realizes that controlling the destinies of others and making them suffer is not as profound or meaningful as he thought it was, Von Trier comes up with a more fascinating question. Is there an artistic sensibility in all this destruction and ugliness? Is art something only associated with beauty and love, or is there something worthy to be found in the process of decay on display?

You can certainly watch the film with theoretical knowledge of this relationship, but what makes it a richer and more fruitful experience IMO is being able to question whether or not you agree -- or to what degree you agree. Because The House That Jack Built poses the question: what gives art worth?, having these full feature references in your head, and being able to wrestle with them as this new film is unfolding makes the whole thing that much more dynamic.


csage97

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Reply #55 on: January 08, 2019, 06:02:40 AM
Quote from: Letterboxd user Eren Odabasi
Is there an artistic sensibility in all this destruction and ugliness? Is art something only associated with beauty and love, or is there something worthy to be found in the process of decay on display?

OK, now this is really tickling my mind. I have a bit of a fascination with measures of decay and waste (I could get into it, but it's a big topic), and art that draws attention to those things.

I suppose I can watch the others first chronologically and then get to THTJB.


eward

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Reply #56 on: January 08, 2019, 10:49:43 AM
They’re all better films too. Much as I like THTJB...
"Do you laugh at jealousy?"

"No, I don't even laugh at seasickness! I happen to regard jealousy as the seasickness of passion."


Robyn

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Reply #57 on: January 08, 2019, 11:01:39 AM
before THTJB I recommend you to watch these in this order;
The Element of Crime
Epidemic
Europa
Breaking the Waves
Riget
The Idiots
Dancer in the Dark
Dogville
Manderlay
Antichrist
Melancholia
Nymphomaniac

 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


eward

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Reply #58 on: January 08, 2019, 12:09:48 PM
Toss in Medea, The Five Obstructions, and The Boss of It All just to be complete.

If you wanna be REALLY complete, watch Dear Wendy too.
"Do you laugh at jealousy?"

"No, I don't even laugh at seasickness! I happen to regard jealousy as the seasickness of passion."