Notable films: Europa, Dancer in the Dark, Antichrist, Dogville, Breaking the Waves, and The Idiots.
Famous for: Shocking his audience, controversy, female lead performances, depressing idealism, anti-religious undercurrents, beautifully unique visuals, low budget hand-held camera angles, talking about his fears and emotions, and refusing to watch his own movies.
Hypothetical title: Heaven’s Highway
Hypothetical premise: After being set up for a misdemeanor and kicked out by her polygamist family, lonely widow Gretchen kills her abusive father and flees her small west-coast mountain town. Emerging from the mountains a completely new person, she begins rebuilding her life for herself, learning her sense of individuality and coming into her own. However, the past catches back up to her, and she is soon on the run from the law as well as her haunting, abusive past. She begins seeing delusional crimes committed in everyday life, mimicking both the ones her father did and the way she killed him. When the police catch her, there is no proof that her father was the patriarch of a repressive polygamist regime because nobody in it will talk but her. She is sentenced to life in prison, but commits suicide after reflecting on how good her life was for those few months.
Cross between: Thelma and Louise, Dancer in the Dark, Big Love, and Dogville.
Likely to bring: Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle (Oscar winner for Slumdog Millionaire) has been by von Trier’s side for many of his films, and is an excellent aid in bringing his beautiful shot ideas into his often brutal story ones. Without him, Antichrist wouldn’t have any beauty to offset its sadism. On the acting front, he’d have to locate yet another female lead to portray a tragic heroine. It wouldn’t be a problem, these performances often gain critical acclaim and are nominated for awards. If I had to throw someone in the ring, I’d choose Marion Cotillard. Her career is on a hot streak, and her and von Trier would work very well together.
Likeliness of this happening: 5/10 The only thing you can expect from von Trier is the unexpected. He is not shy about sharing his fears and phobias with interviewers and the press, and his struggle with diseases like depression often metastasize in his work (i.e. Antichrist). If he ever gets bored with the big screen, I wouldn’t rule a TV show out, but I also wouldn’t bet on it. In two words: who knows?