Berlinale: Programme

Film File



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After the accidental death of their son, a couple withdraws to the seclusion of an isolated cabin in the woods. The woman experiences feelings of guilt for the child’s accident; her husband, a psychotherapist, uses discussion and exercises in an attempt to ameliorate her pathological fear. But instead of alleviating her grief and pain, it drives her to even greater despair. Her manic impulses are initially self-destructive, but eventually she turns violently on her therapist … In Lars von Trier’s dark psychological horror film, a married couple literally tears each other apart. Willem Dafoe gives an intense portrayal of a loving husband who has difficulty getting his emotions under control with the rationality he needs to provide therapy for his wife. His striking face reflects his concern for his obsessed wife just as credibly as his horror when she turns into a raging fury. Equally brilliant is Dafoe’s mastery of the physical demands of the role, a man who ultimately undergoes terrible torment.

Denmark / Germany / France / Sweden / Italy / Poland 2009


109’ · Colour · 2K DCP

Rating R18


Charlotte Gainsbourg
Willem Dafoe
Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm


Written and directed by
Lars von Trier
Director of Photography
Anthony Dod Mantle, Gökhan Balseven
Anders Refn, Åsa Mossberg
Kristian Selin Eidnes Andersen
Production Design
Kalle Júlíusson
Art Director
Tim Pannen
Frauke Firl
Hue Lan van Duc, Nicola Pandel
Meta Louise Foldager Sørensen
Memfis Film & Television, Stockholm
Trollhättan Film, Stockholm
Zentropa International, Köln
Liberator Productions, Paris
Slot Machine, Paris
Lucky Red, Rom
Zentropa International Polen, Warschau

Produced by

Zentropa Entertainments ApS