INDIEWIRE: Lars von Trier: I Could ‘Live with Not Doing More Movies’ Amid Parkinson’s Diagnosis

By Samantha Bergeson



Lars von Trier is not melancholic about the state of his career after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

The “Melancholia” auteur opened up about his next projects since revisiting his cult favorite ’90s series “The Kingdom” with new season “The Kingdom Exodus.”

“I don’t have this idea that there’s a film I haven’t made yet that has to be made, right now,” von Trier told The New Yorker. “Also, because of this Parkinson’s I’ve picked up, I could live with not doing more films.”

The director added, “I’m very aware of the risk of doing what I call old-man films. These are the films that happen because you have a house that is too big, and you’re striving to repeat your success.”

Von Trier added that “The House That Jack Built,” the 2018 serial killer film starring Matt Dillon, deviated from the criticisms of misogynistic storylines in his films. While Jack seduces and murders a woman, cutting off her breast to fasten as a coin purse, von Trier stated that the film does not linger on the “suffering” of its female characters, played by Riley Keough, Uma Thurman, and Siobhan Fallon Hogan.

“I thought it would be nice to try to do something where there are no suffering women,” von Trier said. “There were a lot of women in it, but they died, they didn’t go on suffering.”

The “Antichrist” filmmaker added of the genre, “I think I underestimated what horror really needs, which is time. The reason there are so many jokes is because I could only work for about an hour and a half each day while I was writing. Everything became compressed. I believe that humor and, let’s say, fascination, or fear, come from the same source. I’m terrified of getting on a plane, but I have been a few times, and it’s fantastic to fly, when it goes through the clouds, all of that. The fear comes from the fascination of the thing.”

As for von Trier’s Parkinson’s diagnosis, he said, “As a private person, I love medicine. I take so many pills because I have so many things now that have to be cured…I like rules and borders. I also like when I have my back to a wall. I have to find something completely new to say.”

Earlier this year, von Trier said at the Venice Film Festival that his installment of “Kingdom Exodus” was not what he hoped it would be due to his illness.

“That means that I had not lived up to the way I wanted to be as a director, because I was ill,” Von Trier explained to Variety. “And that’s a pity for the [‘The Kingdom Exodus’] actors, but I think they did OK.”

Von Trier confirmed in September 2022 that he will “take a little break” to focus on his health. “The Kingdom Exodus” is his first project since 2018’s “The House That Jack Built,” which debuted at Cannes.

“I will take a little break and find out what to do. But I certainly hope that my condition will be better,” the “Nymphomaniac” director said. “It’s a disease you can’t take away; you can work with the symptoms, though. I just have to get used to that I shake and not be shameful in front of people. And then continue, because what else should I do?”


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