The House that Jack Built, a 2018 feature film by Lars von Trier was premiered at the 71st edition of Cannes film festival, and then released worldwide.
Lars von Trier who made some weird pro-Nazi comments while showcasing his Melancholia at Cannes festival almost 7 years ago (despite apologizing later on) was labeled as “Persona Non Grata,” meaning “undesired/unwelcomed person,” and banished from the future editions of the festival. But with the decision of the administrators at Cannes, he is now able to participate in the out of competition (in French: “hors competition”) section [meaning he won’t win a golden palm award] of the current edition with his new film, The House that Jack Built.
Lars von Trier’s new film is about a serial killer in America. He wrote the screenplay himself. It is in psychological Horror-film genre, starring Matt Dillon as Jack the murderer. The House that Jack Built, narrates the turning of a man named Jack into a serial killer in the state of Washington in America by committing 5 murders over the course of 12 years, between the 70s and 80s.
Lars von Trier began writing this screenplay 2 years ago intending to make a series but later decided to make a feature film. The production of the film began 1 year later and took another 1 year to complete. It is now ready to be premiered at Cannes 2018.
The budget for The House that Jack Built is reported to be 8.7 million euros, financed by Zentropa and Film i Väst companies.
A synopsis of The House that Jack Built has been released on Zentropa website, which you can read below:
USA in the 1970s. We follow the highly intelligent Jack over a span of 12 years and are introduced to the murders that define Jack’s development as a serial killer.
We experience the story from Jack’s point of view, while he postulates each murder is an artwork in itself. As the inevitable police intervention is drawing nearer, he is taking greater and greater risks in his attempt to create the ultimate artwork.
Along the way we experience Jack’s descriptions of his personal condition, problems and thoughts through a recurring conversation with the unknown Verge – a grotesque mixture of sophistry mixed with an almost childlike self-pity and psychopathic explanations.
The House That Jack Built is a dark and sinister story, presented through a philosophical and occasional humorous tale.
This mesmerizing synopsis reminds us of Element of Crime, an older film by Lars von Trier.
A number of internationally acclaimed actors cast in Lars von Trier’s The House that Jack Built as follows:
Matt Dillon as the lead actor, who has previously acted in Rumble Fish (1983) and Crash (2004);
Bruno Ganz, the prominent German actor who has previously starred in many great and praised films including Wings of Desire (1987), Faraway, So Close! (1993), and Downfall (2004);
Uma Thurman, the renowned actress of Pulp Fiction (1994), and Kill Bill: Volume 1 & 2 (2003/4);
Siobhan Fallon Hogan, who has already acted in two of Lars von Trier’s previous films, Dancer in the Dark (2000) and Dogville (2004);
Riley Keough, the actress of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).
Lars von Trier has already made 2 minimalistic films named Dogville and Manderlay that were set in America. Before making The House that Jack Built, there were talks about Lars von Trier planning to make another film about America to complete his Amercian Trilogy. But it has not been officially announced yet if The House that Jack Built is the one that makes the American Trilogy complete.
The movies Dogville and Manderlay, with their special aura and minimalistic style, were praised by many people worldwide, and later other directors made movies inspired by them. But their critical tone against America, and portraying an ugly picture of the history and people of this country were frowned upon by some.
It might be of interest to know that Lars von Trier has Claustrophobia (or the fear of closed spaces), and therefore has never traveled by plane. This might be one reason he did not shoot Manderlay and Dogville on location, but in a studio in Europe. The House that Jack Built is not an exception, and like the other two films it was totally shot in Europe.
But The House that Jack Built is different from the previous two films in some aspects. Based on the trailer that has been released, and knowing that a teams of special effects has worked on The House that Jack Built (something that was not needed for Manderlay and Dogville), we can see a striking difference in the direction style of these film; this causes doubt if The House that Jack Built is really the third film in the American Trilogy. Besides, the synopsis that has been published so far, doesn’t seem to describe a similar content.
A short trailer of Lars von Trier’s The House that Jack Built has been released on the official Facebook page of this film, which you can watch below:
Read about other films premiered at Cannes 2018 on Sinarium.