Zentropa (1991)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Drama  |   Release Date - May 22, 1992 (USA)  |   Run Time - 112 min.  |   Countries - Switzerland , Germany , Denmark , Spain , France , Sweden   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Brendon Hanley

Danish auteur Lars von Trier has rarely been one to let narrative get in the way of technical razzle-dazzle. The director's Element of Crime was as convoluted as they come, but it featured some of the most menacing cinematography in recent memory. His first breakthrough in the American art-house circuit, Europa (re-titled Zentropa in the U.S. to avoid confusion with Europa, Europa), similarly unleashed a host of marvelous cinematic tricks. If the film is somewhat pretentious, he's forgiven, since the optical trickery and the black-and-white cinematography are so sensational. It's equal parts surrealism and normalcy, and the look is appropriate to the milieu of post-World War II Germany. Like Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville or a slowly-paced David Lynch film, Europa makes a definite impact. Von Trier was supposedly so upset at his film not winning the Palme D'Or at 1991's Cannes Film Festival, he made vulgar gestures at the jury and called its president Roman Polanski a "midget."