Lars von Trier's Cinema : Excess, Evil, and the Prophetic Voice book cover
1st Edition

Lars von Trier's Cinema
Excess, Evil, and the Prophetic Voice

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after August 27, 2021
ISBN 9780367766566
August 27, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
296 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book offers a bold and dynamic examination of Lars von Trier’s cinema by interweaving philosophy and theology with close attention to aesthetics through style and narrative. It explores the prophetic voice of von Trier's films, juxtaposing them with Ezekiel's prophecy and Ricoeur’s symbols of evil, myth, and hermeneutics of revelation.

The films of Lars von Trier are categorized as extreme cinema, inducing trauma and emotional rupture rarely paralleled, while challenging audiences to respond in new ways. This volume argues that the spiritual, biblical content of the films holds a key to understanding von Trier’s oeuvre of excess. Spiritual conflict is the mechanism that unpacks the films’ notorious excess with explosive, centrifugal force.

By confronting the spectator with spiritual conflict through evil, von Trier's films truthfully and prophetically expose the spectator’s complicity in personal and structural evil, forcing self-examination through theological themes, analogous to the prophetic voice of the transgressive Hebrew prophet Ezekiel, his prophecy, and its form of delivery. Placed in context with the prophetic voices of Dante, Milton, Dostoyevsky, O’Connor, and Tarkovsky, this volume offers a theoretical framework beyond von Trier. It will be of great interest to scholars in Film Studies, Film and Philosophy, Film and Theology.

Table of Contents


1 Context: Prophets and Prophecy, Ezekiel, and the Spirit

2 Artist as Prophet: Affinities in Dante, Milton, Dostoyevsky, O’Connor, and Tarkovsky

3 Aesthetics of Prophecy: Narrative Structures and Prophetic Themes

4 Aesthetics of Image, Sound, and Style: Embodying the Prophetic Voice

5 Antichrist: Paradise Lost and our Capacity for Evil

6 Conclusion

Appendix 1


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Rebecca Ver Straten-McSparran has a PhD in theological aesthetics from King's College London and is former director of the L.A. Film Studies Center. She has an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister. Rebecca has executive produced and worked on award-winning films, and currently provides consultation services for higher education film programs, productions, and independent filmmakers.