En Blomst (1971)

Watch a Short Film Lars von Trier Made When He Was 15

from the moment that little Lars (then going by simply “von Trier”) slaps his name in big capital letters across the start of this short film, which he made at the age of 15 in 1971, you can see the first provocative hints of the auteur we would all come to know and love and / or hate and / or endure. if anything, by the time the Hallelujah Chorus kicks in, it almost feels as if En Blomst announced precisely what von Trier would hope to explore and agitate with his professional career, like a promise he made to himself and from which he has never deviated (some would argue he still has yet to mature). this precocious little movie is a delightful artifact, and — like all of von Trier’s work — not for the faint of heart.

How to Watch an Art Movie

We all know that Hollywood films and their counterparts elsewhere obey certain conventions of style and story. (I say conventions to put it neutrally. Some will call them formulas, some will call them clichés.) Against that tradition some critics and film lovers posit what’s been called “festival cinema” or “art cinema,” a tradition that favors individual expression and more unusual storytelling. But can we say that this tradition also has its conventions?

I think so.


An art film may give us nascent conflicts but never develop them, or pay them off. Characters may come and go without preparation, and chance events may divert the plot. Are these tactics more realistic than what we get in tightly plotted films? Some would say so; they’d say it’s more like the way life moves. In any event, it’s an important convention of this filmmaking tradition.

Parallels matter more than causality in many art films.

A excerpt from David Bordwell’s extensive article on the norms that art films follow. As a whole, most defy convention by adopting another accepted convention.