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Provocateur Smackdown! Lars von Trier vs. Michael Moore

Danish director Lars von Trier (Breaking the Waves) and documentary filmmaker Michael Moore (Sicko) live to offend, and to congratulate themselves for doing so. Both have movies this fall. Let the games begin!

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Michael Moore

Lars Von Trier
“I would like to appologize for refering to George W. Bush as a deserter. What I meant to say is that [he] is a deserter, an election thief, a drunk driver, a WMD liar, and a functional illiterate. And he poops his pants.” In response to the outrage over Antichrist at Cannes, he boasted that his new film was done “by the hand of God... I am the best film director in the world...I am not sure if God is the best god in the world.”
Notoriety Has filmed a series of sermons on America’s sins and hypocrisies—several of which (Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11) were the among the most successful documentaries in history. Founder of Dogme 95 filmmaking movement, currently two-thirds through a “a series of sermons on America’s sins and hypocrisy” (Dogville, Manderlay, and the uncompleted Washington).
New Film Capitalism: A Love Story, a horrific documentary starring CEOs as vampiric overlords. Moore has said he wants moviegoers to walk out “asking the ushers, ‘Um, excuse me. Where are the pitchforks and torches?’ ” (September 23.) Antichrist, a horrific love story starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a married couple violently abusing each other after the death of their child. (Opens October 23.)
Most Shocking Moment of New Film Film had not screened at press time. Spoiler: Gainsbourgh crushes Dafoe’s testicles with a block of wood, forcing him to ejaculate blood, and then cuts off her clitoris with a pair of rusty scissors.
Famous Victims Charlton Heston, suffering from Alzheimer’s, was portrayed as confused and strange when Moore confronted him about an NRA meeting he held shortly after the Columbine massacre. Björk, whom he hung by a rope while shooting Dancer in the Dark. Later, she became so distressed she ate one of her own sweaters. Von Trier fondly recalled that every morning she said, “Mr. von Trier, I despise you,” then spit at him.
Famous Enemies Pharmaceutical executives, Saudi princes, Jean-Luc Godard, the late General Motors CEO Roger Smith, former president George H.W. Bush, who once called Moore a “slimeball.” Roman Polanski (whom Von Trier famously dubbed “the midget”), and approximately half of all film critics, one of whom (Variety’s Todd McCarthy) described Antichrist as cutting “a big fat art-film fart.”
Winner Sorry, Michael, but unless you crush a CEO’s testicles, Lars is our champion.

Photographs: Eric Ryan/Getty Images (von Trier); Mario Tama/Getty Images (Moore); Courtesy of IFC Films (von Trier in chair).


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Fall Preview 2009

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