Friday, December 18, 2009
The Boss of It All
This is one of Lars Von Trier’s experimental movies that plays with convention like The Idiots, or The Five Obstructions. He appears as himself in these films- either adding little narratives or by purposely showing the camera crew in the reflections of windows. This one is his attempt at a genre film- a comedy. It succeeds as a funny movie and would probably is hysterical if you were Danish.
An out of work self-important actor is hired by the boss of a software company to pretend to be the “boss of it all” that no one has met. That way he can blame him for all the fucked up stuff he does- like selling off the company and firing his all his employees/investors/developers without compensation. Of course the actor going into this gig doesn’t know this and throughout the film he struggles with the dilemma of sticking to his “role” and doing what he is told- and fucking the unknowing employees over. The movie ultimately deals with ethical questions. And the end is really a jab at the art of acting. It really works largely because the guy playing him, Jens Albinus’ (Stoffer from The Idiots) performance is perfectly perplexed and laugh-out-loud funny.
Trier used a technique called Automavison, probably something he made up or helped develop. He establishes a scene, points the camera at the actors, and then lets a computer select the angle, movement, pan, tilt, and zoom of the camera. Then they shoot it. So in the final product there are a lot of jump cuts but it makes for interesting viewing- and occasionally you come across some amazing unintentional compositions that are striking.
If you like the weird shit Trier does- I imagine you will like this- I think it’s among his best work. Or if you want to see a superior and subversive office comedy and you don’t mind that it’s in Danish- check this out for sure.