Director: Lars Von Trier

Denmark-France-Sweden| 1991. English subtitles. Colour and black and white. Dolby stereo SR. Anamorphic. 112 minutes.

The meticulous pre-production work and detailed storyboarding that characterised The Element of Crime was also employed with Europa. It is the final instalment of the ‘Europa Trilogy’, but von Trier intended this to be a more accessible and commercial film. It is set in the autumn of 1945, as Germany lies buried in the ruins of war and convulsed in social upheaval. The film’s protagonist, a young, na•ve German-born fellow named Leo Kessler (Jean-Marc Barr), has just returned from the US to secure employment with the long-established Zentropa Train Company. He is taken on as a porter on a sleeping car, and with these train journeys through Germany he comes to experience first hand the extend of the devastation. In its examination of issues of post-war complicity and guilt, Europa is very much an elaboration on von Trier’s graduation film Images of a Relief. But it is also much more-a trip back to Germany year zero. This country has always fascinated von Trier. German culture contains, as he put it, ‘a great amount of both the dangerous and the beautiful.’

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