Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Seeing the forest for the Lars Von Triers

We left the kids with our neighbour-friends on Sunday morning and escaped for a glorious hour or so of reading the paper. It's a strange sensation, getting through the whole review section without small noses poking over the top of it and demanding “More!” (Lucas, and it doesn’t really matter what the “more” is – he’s always demanding more of something) or to asking to trace over the letters (Jonah. We always give him the sports section since it’s the least-read bit for us, so Jonah’s going to grow up with a vast array of vocabulary gleaned from the sports pages. Dead useful, I’m sure).

Anyway, the review section contained was an article on Lars Von Trier’s latest film, Antichrist. There's been lots of discussion as to whether the violence in the film is was integral to the art or just entirely gratuitous and a shock-factor=column-inches gambit (and let's face it; if it's the latter, it's definitely paid off).
I haven’t seen the film yet, and whilst I'm not necessarily leaping to grab my coat and go and watch female genitial mutilation, it certainly sounds intriguing enough as a whole to get me to the coat rack. But amidst the description of extreme grief, depression, and their violent manifestations, there was one detail that did startle me off the page and question whether I'd be able to sit through the film. I say this entirely tongue in cheek, and mostly because I am an oversentimental lunatic when it comes to matter of woodlands.

The review explained that we glean from an address on an envelope near the beginning of the film that it’s set somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. It went on to mention as a tangent that the film was actually shot on location in Germany, in Nordrhein-Westfalen.

I looked up from the paper, eyes wide.

“We can’t go and see it after all”

“Why’s that?”

“The trees are all wrong! It will ruin the movie”.

Setting something amongst the wrong trees? Just not possible. I know the trees of the Pacific Northwest – not as well as I know my home forest, obviously, but for four glorious years, these cedars and pines were my home trees. They were just like the US itself when we first got there – massive and unknowable and way wilder than anything we’d experienced to date. Look:

These trees, they helped me in so many ways when everything in my life was unknown. This might sound nuts to anyone who grew up in a city, but being back within easy access of the total randomness of nature that a forest provides (because really, beyond the years-ago first planting, these things are doing whatever the hell they like and creating their own mini worlds) was like coming home. And home matters to me, as we've established by now, a hell of a lot.

Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary in this post, I’m not stupid, just ridiculously sentimental. I know that films are shot on location – there’s just a part of me that wishes that, just this once, those trees could be my trees. It seems a bit like getting a Christmas card from your parents and the enclosed photo being of two other random, similarly-aged people. The thought is nice but the implementation? Just weird. Although one of the best Christmas cards we ever received was from friends who did exactly that...but that's a different story, for a different day.

1 comment:

Simon said...

The irony that Jonah may turn out to be a huge sports fan thanks to one the least sports oriented people I know is not lost on me!