Von Trier revisits his Early Years in semiautobiographical satire

Erik Nietzsche, The Early Years

on September 08, 2007 by Susan Green
Non-Danes likely will be unfamiliar with some of the cultural nuances in Erik Nietzsche, The Early Years , which satirizes the selective national film school in Copenhagen that has mistakenly accepted the naive title character (Jonatan Spang). He's the alter ego of cinematic provocateur Lars von Trier, who wrote the screenplay based on his experiences in the late 1970s and whose early home-movie experiments are interspersed throughout the narrative.   

Erik's professors are either pompous or psychologically unbalanced; his fellow students employ dirty tricks and sexual favors to succeed in the ruthlessly competitive environment. Dog-eat-dogme, perhaps? Their conniving does not translate into creative excellence and rigid academic rules stifle freedom of expression. Our brave hero—and we all know who he really is—rebels. The film is fun until it turns self-congratulatory. Director Jacob Thuesen's reverence is apparent: God bless Lars von Trier, the only person in Denmark to see the light. 

For complete coverage of the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, search boxoffice.com using keyword “TIFF 2007.”

Distributor: TBD
Cast: Jonatan Spang, Therese Damsgaard, David Dencik, Mille Hoffmeyer Lehfeldt, Soren Pilmark, Troels Lyby, Soren Malling, Dejan Cukic and Nikolaj Coster Waldau
Director: Jacob Thuesen
Screenwriter: Lars von Trier
Producers: Sisse Graum Jorgensen and Marie Cecilie Gade
Genre: Comedy; Danish-language, subtitled
Rating: Not yet rated
Running time: 96 min.
Release date: TBD

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