Europa (1991)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Alternate title:  Zentropa

Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany/Switzerland, 1991Alicéléo, ,  , , , , , , , , , , .  Screenplay by Lars Von Trier, .  Cinematography by , .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by , Andrzej Borecki.  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Gorgeous, visionary tale from Lars Von Trier set in postwar Germany. German-descended, American-born  shows up in his father’s destroyed country and, thanks to the connection with his conductor uncle, gets a job working for the Zentropa train line. While on the job he makes the acquaintance of American officers who put him wise to the threat of partisan fighters, and falls in love with the daughter of the family who own Zentropa (). As the dreamlike experiences on the train, narrated so sardonically by Max von Sydow, continue, however, Barr begins to suspect that he is being used to help entrap political fighters whose cause he is beginning to feel sympathy for. Moving back and forth between hard-hitting imagery and whimsical expressionism, the odd shots of full-colour amid the smoky black and white only add to the beauty and depth of an experience that is never pretentious or difficult. The only drawback is Barr himself, who isn’t up to the challenge of the role when it comes time for him to really get lit up, while Sukowa’s glamor overrides him completely with her mystical appeal. The original title was changed to Zentropa after Agnieszka Holland’s Europa Europa was released around the same time.

The Criterion Collection:  #454

Cannes Film Festival Award:  Jury Prize

European Film Award Nominations:  Best European Actress (Barbara Sukowa); Best European Supporting Actor (Ernst-Hugo Järegård)

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