Epidemic • 1h 46m
Directed by Lars von Trier • 1987 • Denmark
Starring Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel, Claes Kastholm Hansen
A jet-black comedy of contagion, a subversive medical-horror freak-out, and a sly metacinematic prank, Lars von Trier’s sophomore feature—born from a bet that he couldn’t make a film for less than $150,000—finds the director channeling his singular thematic obsessions into an evocatively lo-fi, perversely self-reflexive provocation. The filmmaker himself stars as a harried screenwriter whose efforts to complete a script about the outbreak of a deadly disease coincide with a grisly real-life plague. A twisted reflection on Europe’s haunted past—from the Black Death to World War II—and its scarred present, EPIDEMIC is von Trier at his most idiosyncratic and audaciously experimental.
Up Next in Epidemic
This commentary track, recorded in 2005, features director Lars von Trier and screenwriter and actor Niels Vørsel.
Portrait of Lars von Trier
In this 1991 interview for Danish television, director Lars von Trier talks about the fears, influences, and fascinations that he draws on to tell his stories.
Anecdotes from EPIDEMIC
This short 2005 documentary about EPIDEMIC’s production features interviews with film scholar Peter Schepelern, screenwriter and actor Niels Vørsel, cinematographer Kristoffer Nyholm, actors Udo Kier and Michael Simpson, and film consultant Claes Kastholm Hansen.