Ok, so a Lars von Trier movie is hardly a light-hearted romp full of belly laughs and feel-good moments. But the Danish director has done a few things to make nudity fans smile- he pioneered the use of unsimulated sex in arthouse movies with The Idiots (1998), his production company Zentropia was the first to produce both mainstream films and hardcore porn, and he's gotten Kirsten Dunst, Bryce Dallas Howard, Emily Watson, and Charlotte Gainsbourg to get naked on film.
So to celebrate the long-awaited theatrical debut of Melancholia (2011), join Skin Central as we fast-forward to the good parts of this arthouse auteur's oeuvre (try saying that three times fast):
Von Trier had already been working for over a decade when Breaking the Waves (1996) came out, but this film, about a man who tells his wife to go out and sleep with other men after he's paralyzed in an accident, was the one that made the Academy sit up and take notice. Meanwhile, Emily Watson's full-frontal perv-formance made Mr. Skin's schlong stand up and take notice, too.
Around the same time, von Trier was developing the Dogme 95 school of filmmaking, a strict set of rules for directors which includes no props, no tripods, and no artificial lighting. Luckily, there's no rule against nudity in Dogme 95- in fact, its defining work, The Idiots (1998), pioneered the use of hardcore sex in arthouse films. So if you've ever slapped your sausage to 9 Songs (2004) or Shortbus (2006), you've got this grumpy Danish dude to thank.
Speaking of hardcore, Constance (1998) was produced by von Trier's Zentropia production company, but it's not an arthouse flick- it's a porno, one of the first to be designed with both ladies and gents in mind. Anais stars as the TIT-ular tart, who gets a lesson in lovin' from Danish porn star Katja Kean and her harem of hunks.
In the 2000s, von Trier's growing fame has allowed him to work with bigger budgets and bigger names, but he hasn't lost his edge- just ask Bryce Dallas Howard, who proved she's a snatchural redhead in a politically charged skinterracial scene in Manderlay (2005).
Or Charlotte Gainsbourg, who does some pretty nasty things to her own genitals in Antichrist (2009)- though the unsimulated schtupping you see here was the work of Charlotte's body double, porn star Mandy Starship. Her Beelze-butt is hot as Hell!
Von Trier's newest arthouse atrocity is Melancholia, starring Kirsten Dunst as a woman whose crippling depression casts a shadow over her wedding day...or maybe it's just the rogue planet hurtling through space to destroy the Earth. Either way, as far as last looks go, you could do a lot worse than Kiki's full frontal debut.
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