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PRINT November 1996

HEAVEN’S WEIGHT: LARS VON TRIER

THERE WERE REALLY TWO melodramas. The first was called Breaking the Waves, a new film by Lars von Trier; it was scheduled to show at Cannes. The second revolved around luring this notoriously phobic director out of Denmark; he was scheduled to show at Cannes, too. But getting him on a plane to fly to the South of France was impossible—planes, he reasoned, are late, crowded, blow up, crash, and have windows that don’t open. Planes were out. That left two options: trains and automobiles. Last-minute claustrophobia killed the train idea (more nonopening windows), while the thought of potentially spending hours trapped in European holiday traffic proved too much to bear. In the end, the first melodrama made it to Cannes; the second played only in Denmark. If you ask von Trier, he’ll tell you that without his personal Sturm and Drang there would have been no drama for the screen: “Making a film

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