Lars von Trier: I was addicted to drugs and alcohol

Danish director said he is now sober and receiving treatment for dependency, but expresses concern over whether he will be able to make films in the future

Lars von Trier has revealed that he is undergoing treatment for drugs and alcohol addiction. Speaking to the newspaper Politiken, the Danish film director reported that he is now clean and attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings daily.

In his first major interview since a self-imposed vow of silence following his controversial comments expressing empathy for Adolf Hitler in 2011, the director, 58, said almost all his films had been written under the influence.

Von Trier explained he felt a daily bottle of vodka helped him enter a “parallel world” necessary for creation and that coming off both alcohol and drugs might mean he could only produce “shitty films”.

Von Trier has before spoken of previous struggles with depression. In the interview, he expresses scepticism about the potential value of any future work, as well as his capacity to produce it.

“I don’t know if I can make any more films, and that worries me,” he said. “There is no creative expression of artistic value that has ever been produced by ex-drunkards and ex-drug-addicts. Who the hell would bother with a Rolling Stones without booze or with a Jimi Hendrix without heroin?”

Von Trier emerged as a film-maker in the 1990s, where he was one of the pioneers of the “Dogme” style of realism. Breaking the Waves, starring Emily Watson, was his first major hit; he won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2000 with Dancer in the Dark, starring Björk and Catherine Deneuve. Other films include The Idiots (1998), Dogville (2003), Antichrist (2009) and Melancholia (2011).

Over the past year, Von Trier released two-part sex odyssey Nymphomaniac, the script for which he said had been written sober and taken 18 months. He said the screenplay for Dogville, meanwhile, had been completed during a 12-day drug binge.


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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