Lars von Trier’s new film prompts mass walkout at Cannes

Published May 15, 2018

MATT DILLON IN “THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT.” COURTESY IFC FILMS AND THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL

Leave it to Danish provocateur Lars von Trier to offend a festival audience. At last night’s Cannes premiere of his new film, The House That Jack Built, audiences were so offended by the excessive violence they reportedly walked out of the screening in droves, leaving behind a wake of angry tweets. The film stars Matt Dillon as Jack, a serial killer who carries out terrible crimes throughout the 1970s and ’80s. Riley Keough and Uma Thurman also star.

“I’ve never seen anything like this at a film festival. More than 100 people have walked out of Lars von Trier’s ‘The House That Jack Built,’” Variety‘s Ramin Setoodeh tweeted.

Elsewhere, the film has gotten overwhelmingly negative reviews. Vulture‘s Emily Yoshida called it “narcissistic, ugly slog,” while Vanity Fair‘s Richard Lawson described it as “a tediously navel-gazing exercise.”

This is not the first time von Trier has ruffled feathers. In 2009, while promoting his (also violent) film Antichrist, he said in an interview, “I think working with actors is a little bit how a chef would work with a potato or a piece of meat.” At a press conference at Cannes in 2011, he made vaguely Nazi-sympathizing remarks, saying he “understands” Hitler. Those comments got him banned from the French festival—until this year, that is.