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When a young loner (Jamie Bell, Billy Elliot) who lives in a poor mining town happens upon a small handgun one day, he finds himself strangely drawn to it, despite his pacifist views. He soon convinces other young outcasts and misfits in town to join him in a secret club based on the principles of pacifism and guns. Despite their mantra—"never draw your weapons"—they discover that some rules are made to be broken. An audacious and stylish exploration of guns and violence in America, written by Lars Von Trier (Dogville) and directed by Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration). Bill Pullman co-stars. Music by The Zombies.

 Dear Wendy

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).

Courting Controversy
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.