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Politics, Theory, and FilmCritical Encounters with Lars von Trier$
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Bonnie Honig and Lori J. Marso

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190600181

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190600181.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 November 2020

“At the Fringes of One’s Consciousness”

“At the Fringes of One’s Consciousness”

Kierkegaard, The Idiots, and the Politics of Comic Rule Following

(p.247) 11 “At the Fringes of One’s Consciousness”
Politics, Theory, and Film

Lars Tønder

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes von Trier’s filmmaking techniques vis-à-vis Søren Kierkegaard’s philosophical existentialism in the film The Idiots (1998). Though von Trier never mentions Kierkegaard as a source of inspiration, both men have a great deal in common culturally as well as politically. Like von Trier after him, Kierkegaard had deep reservations about the national culture that underpins the political system from which the Danish welfare state sprung. And The Idiots, unlike many of von Trier’s other movies, is unusually place-specific, targeting the Danish welfare state and the national culture underpinning it. Thus, approaching the film via the philosophies of a fellow Danish auteur like Kierkegaard can foreground von Trier’s filmmaking techniques as well as the lived and embodied experiences enabled by these techniques.

Keywords:   filmmaking techniques, Søren Kierkegaard, philosophical existentialism, The Idiots, Danish welfare state, national culture

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