Lars von Trier

The Element of Crime

The Element of Crime

Lars von Trier’s stunning debut feature is a grungily expressionistic hallucination—a trancelike trawl through fractured memories, a murder mystery, and the psychic limbo of cultural displacement. From his exile in Cairo, a former police investigator (Michael Elphick) undergoes hypnosis in order to relive his memories of Europe and his last case, for which he went to dangerous lengths to enter into the mind of and catch a serial killer targeting children. Bathed in a sulfurous yellow glow pierced only by startling flashes of electric blue and red, The Element of Crime combines hard-boiled noir, dystopian science fiction, and dazzling operatic flourishes to yield a celluloid nightmare of terrifying beauty.

Film Info

  • Denmark
  • 1984
  • 103 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.89:1
  • Spine #80

DIRECTOR-APPROVED BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

  • 3K digital restoration, approved by director Lars von Trier, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Audio commentaries featuring von Trier, director of photography Tom Elling, editor Tómas Gislason, filmmaker and critic Stig Björkman, and film scholar Peter Schepelern
  • Tranceformer: A Portrait of Lars von Trier, a 1997 documentary by Björkman
  • Making-of documentary from 1984
  • Programs featuring interviews with Elling, Gislason, Schepelern, assistant director Åke Sandgren, executive producer Per Holst, production manager Per Årman, and crew members Peter Grant, Birger Larsen, and Henrik Fleischer
  • Two short student films by von Trier: Nocturne (1980) and Images of Liberation (1982)
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

Available In

Collector's Set

Lars von Trier’s Europe Trilogy

Lars von Trier’s Europe Trilogy

Blu-ray Box Set

3 Discs

$69.95

DIRECTOR-APPROVED BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

  • 3K digital restoration, approved by director Lars von Trier, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Audio commentaries featuring von Trier, director of photography Tom Elling, editor Tómas Gislason, filmmaker and critic Stig Björkman, and film scholar Peter Schepelern
  • Tranceformer: A Portrait of Lars von Trier, a 1997 documentary by Björkman
  • Making-of documentary from 1984
  • Programs featuring interviews with Elling, Gislason, Schepelern, assistant director Åke Sandgren, executive producer Per Holst, production manager Per Årman, and crew members Peter Grant, Birger Larsen, and Henrik Fleischer
  • Two short student films by von Trier: Nocturne (1980) and Images of Liberation (1982)
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
The Element of Crime
Cast
Michael Elphick
Fisher
Esmond Knight
Osborne
MeMe Lai
Kim
Jerold Wells
Kramer
Ahmed El Shenawi
Therapist
Astrid Henning-Jensen
Housekeeper
János Herskó
Coroner
Stig Larsson
Coroner’s assistant
Harry Harper
Porter 1
Roman Moszkowicz
Porter 2
Lars von Trier
Schmuck of Ages
Frederik Casby
White policeman
Duke Addabayo
Black policeman
Jon Bang Carlsen
Angry policeman
Leif Magnusson
Hotel guest
Preben Lerdorff Rye
Grandfather
Camilla Overbye
Lotto girl 1
Maria Behrendt
Lotto girl 2
Mogens Rukov
Librarian
Gotha Andersen
Judge
Credits
Director
Lars von Trier
Screenplay by
Lars von Trier
Screenplay by
Niels Vørsel
Executive producer
Per Holst
Production manager
Per Årman
Production manager
Sanne Arnt Torp
Director of photography
Tom Elling
Shooting script
Lars von Trier
Shooting script
Tom Elling
Shooting script
Tómas Gislason
Scenario consultant
Mogens Rukov
Translation
Steven Wakelam
Translation
William Quarshie
Camera operator
Søren Berthelin
Camera operator
Steen Møller Rasmussen
Assistant director
Åke Sandgren
Production designer
Peter Høimark
Special effects
Peter Høimark
Property master
Tove Robert Rasmussen
Props
Peter Grant
Props
John Johansen
Props
Lars Nielsen
Props
William Knutter
Lighting engineer
Eg Norre
Gaffer
Jens Gielow
Gaffer
Flemming Bruhn Pedersen
Gaffer
Preben Seltoft
Gaffer
Birger Larsen
Sound recordist
Henrik Fleischer
Film and sound editor
Tómas Gislason
Wardrobe
Manon Rasmussen
Music composed by
Bo Holten

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Lars von Trier’s Europe Trilogy: Straight to the Bottom of the River

One of contemporary cinema’s most provocative filmmakers launched his career with three deeply unnerving, deliriously genre-blending portraits of Europe.

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