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.

Ridley Scott’s first short film Boy and Bicycle, 1965.


Boy and Bicycle, 1965.
Directed by Ridley Scott.
Starring Tony Scott.
Boy and Bicycle is the debut film of British director Ridley Scott and stars younger brother Tony as a schoolboy truant who spends the day visiting various locations around his northern seaside town, while a voice-over provides an insight into his frustrations and teenage angst.
Made in the early 60s using a 16mm camera borrowed from London’s Royal College of Art while a student, Scott shot the film in his native North East of England and it was eventually completed in 1965 following a grant from the British Film Institute. This also allowed the director to secure the services of composer John Barry (James Bond), who provides the soundtrack to the short.
The film provides an early glimpse at the director’s potential, drawing on influences such as Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1956) and the James Joyce novel Ulysses (1922), and including a number of Scott trademarks including the industrial landscape which would be so prominent in later efforts such as Alien and Blade Runner.

Amblin’ is the first completed short film shot by Steven Spielberg on 35mm

Amblin’, 1968.
Written and Directed by Steven Spielberg.
Starring Richard Levin and Pamela McMyler.

While studying at Long Beach state in the 60s, Steven Spielberg was introduced to aspiring producer Dennis Hoffman who provided the young filmmaker with a budget of $15,000 to produce a screenplay Spielberg had written entitled Amblin’. The resulting twenty-six minute short received a theatrical release in 1969 alongside Otto Preminger’s Skidoo (1968) and would prove to be his breakthrough, with Spielberg becoming the youngest director to be offered to a long-term deal with a major studio when Universal executive Sid Sheinberg signed him to a seven-year deal.

Dialogue-free for its duration and set during the hippy movement of the 1960s, Amblin’ is a romance about a couple of young travellers who meet up and decide to accompany one another on a journey to the Pacific coast. Amblin’ demonstrates Spielberg’s emerging talents as a visual storyteller and features impressive cinematography from Allen Daviau, who would later collaborate with the director on feature projects including E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), The Colour Purple (1985) and Empire of the Sun (1987).

The Motorist

The Motorist (1906, R.W. Paul) (via), a silent comedy short about a couple who exceed the speed limit and fly off the face of the Earth into outer space whilst fleeing the police. Motoring through the solar system, their car touches down on the sun and goes for a spin around Saturn’s rings.

Online here.


Short film "Occupations", from "Chacun Son Cinéma"

Chacun son cinéma : une déclaration d’amour au grand écran

The name Lars von Trier is pretty much synonymous with controversy and wherever the eclectic filmmaker goes and whatever he does, controversy never seems too far away. Von Trier is a notoriously unpredictable director, who throughout his career has been labeled a misogynist, a nightmare and a soul robber by some of his cast. Like him or not though, there’s no denying he makes challenging and inventive films the way he wants to make them and this doesn’t just apply to feature films.

For the French anthology film To Each His Own Cinema (2007)—A series of 33 short films, with each director being allocated 3 minutes to represent their current attitudes towards cinema—Von Trier glides down the route of controversy once again with his short Occupations.

Occupations tells the story of an imagined black tie premiere of Von Trier’s Manderlay and features Von Trier himself getting increasingly annoyed by the obnoxious man he finds himself sitting next to. It’s exactly the kind of response to the brief you expect from the reactionary filmmaker. Occupations is not a film concerned with subtlety with Von Trier opting to smash his message home instead of employing delicacy (something the director is not particularly familiar with).

With Occupations, Von Trier’s message is all too plain to see and although most lovers of the cinema would agree with the point the director is making, it’s as usual, an explosive way to make that point. This short isn’t likely to change your attitude towards Von Trier. If anything, it will just make you love/hate him more.