Europa (film)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Europa is Lars von Trier's third theatrical feature film, released in 1991. It was released as Zentropa in North America in order to avoid confusion with the film Europa Europa (1990). Co-written by von Trier and Niels Vørsel, it tells the story of a young, idealistic American who hopes to "show some kindness" to the German people soon after the end of World War II. In US-occupied Germany, he takes on work as a sleeping car conductor for the Zentropa railway network, falls in love with a femme fatale, and becomes embroiled in a pro-Nazi terrorist conspiracy.

The film features an international cast, including the French-American Jean-Marc Barr, German actors Barbara Sukowa and Udo Kier, expatriate American Eddie Constantine, and the Swedes Max von Sydow and Ernst-Hugo Järegård.



Screenshot illustrating the film's use of black and white images mixed with colour, and of characters interacting with back projections

Europa employs an experimental style of cinema; combining largely black and white visuals with occasional intrusions of colour (two years before Schindler's List, which featured the same effect), having actors interact with rear-projected footage, and layering different images over one another to surreal effect.

The film's characters, music, dialogue, and plot are self-consciously melodramatic and ironically imitative of film noir conventions.

Awards and recognition

The film won three awards at the Cannes Film Festival (Best Artistic Contribution, Jury Prize, and Technical Grand Prize). Upon realizing that he had not won the Palme d'Or, von Trier gave the judges the finger and stormed out of the venue.

Von Trier's production company, Zentropa Entertainments, is named after the sinister railway network featured in this film, which is in turn named after the real-life train company Mitropa.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Europa (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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