QuoteLVT: But saying that I know how your country could be a better place, as somebody who is not American, is the most provocative thing you can say, and why is that? It doesn't have so much to do with nationalism or borders; it has to do with politics and your basic idea of what you should do with human beings.
PTA: Where did you get the title for Dogville?
LVT: I spoke to Thomas Winterberg, to one of his colleagues, actually, and we were talking about concentration camps, and then it became America straight away [they laugh]. No, we were talking about how they managed to keep discipline and life going on in the concentration camp, and his theory, which I believe, is that they transformed people into animals. If they are animals, then they are much easier to control. It's very easy to make human beings into animals: let them be cruel, let them be anything--it's such a thin layer, and that was part of the strategy in the concentration camps. And then we talked about dogs, and I said the film had to be called "something-ville."
PTA: So there are a few things.
LVT: [laughs] Actually, quite a lot of things. But the strange thing is, in my situation--which you cannot put yourself in--I know so much about America. Eighty percent of my media, the media I see, has to do with America, 80 percent of the paper has to do with America in some way or another, 80 percent of the television, can you imagine that?
PTA: Isn't it that way in most of the world?
LVT: Yes it is, but that puts me in a situation where America is a part of me also, whether I want it or not or whether you want it or not--it is a part of me. And that's why I'm completely entitled to say whatever I want, because I've heard more about America than I've heard about Denmark, for Christ's sake!
LVT: I watched Magnolia--actually to cast my own movie--but I liked it very much. It was kind of European, although now I don't like European films, either, because they are too American. It's very much a matter of taste, but it's very fulfilling when somebody dares to do what he thinks is most interesting, and I believe that is what happened with Magnolia. I think it is extremely important to please yourself.
PTA: I can count on one hand, maybe both hands, people that I trust, and I feel that if I make a movie, I make it for myself, absolutely first. But there are people that I want to show it to, that I want to like it, but it's also okay if they don't like it, because they'll let me know why, and how, and for what reasons. And that feels good; that is in no way debilitating or hurtful--but if you can hold them in the palm of your hand--
LVT: --To me it was very, very important to show the first film I did to Andrei Tarkovsky, and he hated it. [laughs] He thought it was a load of crap. The film was Element of Crime. He hated it, I tell you.