Danish auteur Lars von Trier is coming to terms with continuing his distinguished career with Parkinson’s Disease, which he has been diagnosed with.
The filmmaker did a press conference and select media interviews via Zoom for the Venice Film Festival, where his latest work, MUBI and Viaplay series “The Kingdom Exodus,” premiered. He was diagnosed some four months ago, but has had it for a longer time, von Trier said in a group media interview.
“That means that I had not lived up to the way I wanted to be as a director, because I was ill. And that’s a pity for the [“The Kingdom Exodus”] actors, but I think they did okay,” von Trier said.
When asked by Variety about what he would work on next, given his current medical condition, von Trier said: “I will take a little break and find out what to do. But I certainly hope that my condition will be better. 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?,” von Trier added.
“The Kingdom Exodus,” the third and final season of von Trier’s “The Kingdom” series, had its public premiere on Thursday at Venice in front of an adoring crowd who cheered every time von Trier’s name appeared on screen or was mentioned. He introduced the screening via a video recording and name checked the Italian masters of cinema who have influenced his oeuvre, including Fellini, Rossellini, Antonioni, Pasolini, Leone and Morricone, among many others. Cast members Bodil Jørgensen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Nicolas Bro and Ida Engvoli were present at the screening.
When asked why he chose to return to “The Kingdom” series, which had its first season in 1994 and second in 1997, von Trier said: “If you compare to David Lynch, he certainly didn’t really have an end to ‘Twin Peaks’ – but I actually had an end to this all the time. The only thing that happened was that the actors died. [Two major characters, Ernst-Hugo Järegård, who played Dr. Helmer, and Kirsten Rolffes, who played Mrs. Drusse, died in 1998 and 2000, respectively] But I felt some obligation to give it some kind of an ending.”
The show follows the staff and patients of a neurosurgical ward in a Copenhagen hospital. In Season 3, sleepwalker Karen seeks answers to the unresolved questions of the series in order to save the hospital from doom.
Meanwhile, after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, von Trier’s world view is bleak. “I think it’s a terrible world. I have two grandchildren. And to see how what they are going to have to fix that we didn’t fix for them – I’m not very optimistic about that, I think it’s a mess,” said von Trier.
“And the political situation is terrible. We have been very naive thinking that from now on the democracy will just rise and things will get better and better,” von Trier added. “It’s a mess that we leave on to a new generation, not to talk about the climate.”
TrustNordisk handles international sales for “The Kingdom” series and has sold it to several territories.
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