1. Antichrist: When people talk about mindfucks, they’re typically referring to plot twist, not the actual plot. Antichrist has a simple plot that’s not filled with twists, but turns. It’s a dark fairy tale that challenges stereotypes associated with gender, the psychosis of a mother who has lost her child, and the neurotic behavior of a husband who decides to treat his grief stricken wife. The movie is littered with symbolism, metaphors, and analogies.
2. Nymphomaniac Vol. 1: Sex is something people love to do but hate to talk about, publicly. Lars has never hesitated to address the issue and he dives head first in his first volume of a story that follows a young girl named Joe who is obsessed with sex. It’s a reverting film that challenges viewers to step back and really understand the power of sex and the role of a woman’s right to do what she pleases to satisfy her wants and desires. Forget 50 Shades of Grey!
3. Melancholia: The second film in “The Depression Trilogy”, it’s a science fiction film—for lack of a better description—that Lars fills with his common bells and whistles filled with sex, depression, and symbolism galore. What makes the film a real kick in the nuts is its ability to show you the Earth being destroyed at the very beginning of the film.
4. Dancer in the Dark: Talk about depressing. A poor mother wishes to help her son get a surgery so he doesn’t go blind while losing her own sight in the process. It really shows American’s in an ugly and greedy light (accurate in many ways), but the film captures the escapism commonly associated with Trier’s films.
5. Nymphomaniac Vol. 2: I split the Nymphomaniac films as they were released, in two volumes. Now, the second volume unfortunately suffers from a lot of structural issues including a shift in Shia LaBeouf’s character eventually going to a different actor. The film focuses on an older Joe and an uglier side to sex one that involves self-destruction, isolation, and selfishness.