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The House That Jack Built director Lars von Trier responds to Cannes screening walkouts: 'The groans relaxed me'

The Danish auteur says it's a problem if people like his new serial killer film

Jacob Stolworthy
Friday 18 May 2018 16:19
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The House That Jack Built official UK trailer

Lars von Trier has waded in on the controversy surrounding his new film The House That Jack Built following its world premiere at the Cannes film festival.

The House That Jack Built stars Matt Dilllon as a serial killer who targets women and children. As one might expect from a Lars von Trier film about a prolific mass murderer, there were reports of groans and mass walkouts from the screening which were followed by a deluge of negative reviews.

However, there were those who stuck through the film's lengthy two-and-a-half-hour running time who went on to give the film a standing ovation - something that the filmmaker has expressed he is slightly concerned about.

Speaking to Cineuropa, he said: “It’s quite important not to be loved by everybody because then you’ve failed. I’m not sure if they hated it enough, though. If it gets too popular, I’ll have a problem. But the reception seemed just about right, I think.”

He added that the audible groans wand walkouts “made [him] very relaxed."

The out-of-competition screening marked the directors return to the Croisette having been declared "persona non grata" seven years ago for controversial comments about Hitler, something he comments was “difficult to remove.”

The Nymphomaniac and Melancholia director also shared what he plans to direct next.

“I have an idea for a series of 36 ten-minute films that will be called Etudes," he said. "It’s based on French film professor Georges Polti’s list of 36 dramatic situations. The films will be shot in different languages. I hope that shooting will become more pleasant… When I work, I get less scared."

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