An interview with Lars Von Trier

In Sign and Sight, a translation of the Die Ziet interview with Lars Von Trier.

Die Zeit: Lars von Trier, who in your opinion has the power in an interview situation, the interviewer or the interviewee?

Lars von Trier: I could try to insist on a symbolic power. I could lay down the rule that during this talk you have to address me as King Lars. I could threaten to leave the room if you disobeyed. But that would do nothing to change the fact that in an interview, the same rules apply as in cinema. No matter what happens during the filming process, the power is in the hands of the editor. You have the scissors in your hands so you have absolute power.

You seem to be fascinated by power relationships. With the Dogma rules, you formulated an aesthetic manifesto and your last two films “Dogville” and “Manderlay” are based on strict formal principles. What so interests you about guidelines and rules?

I come from a family of communist nudists. I was allowed to do or not do what I liked. My parents were not interested in whether I went to school or got drunk on white wine. After a childhood like that, you search for restrictions in your own life.