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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.