The Big Picture
I liked that the script of Dear Wendy was politically incorrect.
For me there was this very touching story hidden in the script, about
some young people, disappointed with what life puts in front of them,
who are trying to create something larger for themselves. At the end
of the script they have to decide between dying together or going back
to a normal, grey existence. That was something I could recognize or
remember from my own youth, and something I could also see a lot of
people relating to. I recognized that in more desperate terms with Columbine.
I also see it in more creative terms when people form rock groups or
create art in a certain way at that age. Also I see a lot of people
at that age on drugs. It’s all related to what we’re talking
about in this film.
Love at First Sight
I grew up as a pacifist and learned to hate guns. But there is something
attractive about them—and addictive. That concept itself was so
provocative and so interesting that I wanted to step in and see where
I could go with it. When I thought about the concept of pacifists with
guns, it started a train of thought in my mind about peacekeeping missions,
about the Western world and the escalation of arms in order to keep
the peace. Pacifists with guns—this is how the Western world has
viewed itself for many years. There’s a conflict in this film
between the man of action and the man of the spoken word; the overly-civilized
and the under-civilized; the man sitting on the fence and the man who
takes action. This becomes a big discussion in the film, the same sort
of discussion that the United States and France have had over the issue
of Iraq, even though this film was written before the invasion of Iraq.
But this film is about more than just politics. It is about the refined,
psychological and inexplicable thing that happens when a man holds a
gun in his hand. The story is basically written as a love triangle,
a love story between a man and his gun and the jealousy that develops
in a third party (when he touches that gun).
Sixty percent of my upbringing is American. And it’s the same
for screenwriter Lars Von Trier. The thing about America is that it’s
the frontier of Western living. We have McDonald’s, we have basketball,
we have American television, American films. We’ve grown up in
the suburbs of America. It’s very obvious that people in our countries
are curious about America. They feel an urge to debate its power. And
they have the right to be provocative about it—and at the same
time remain deeply fascinated by it. It’s not like we’re
sitting on the other side of the ocean finger-pointing. We’re
a part of your community.
I did a film called Festen (The Celebration), which was about
bourgeois family life in the Danish countryside. I’ve never been
there, I’ve never been to a party like that. I grew up in a commune
with hippies. It’s a misunderstanding that people should have
to have experienced things in real life to make art about it. I
think the stereotypes in this film are satiric, a portrait of America
and its gun culture as seen in an almost intentionally clichéd
manner. This sort of thing has been done before. What really provokes
people is that it’s not done by an American.