Lars von Trier
Director and screenwriter Lars von Trier was one of the splashiest talents that Danish - indeed European - cinema had produced in years. His reputation as one of a few genuine "enfants terribles" of cinema in the 1980s and 1990s did not stem simply from his call for Ingmar Bergman's death - so, he said, that other Scandinavian filmmakers could receive more attention - or his hurling an obscenity at Roman Polanski when his film "Europa" (1991) failed to receive the Palme d'Or at Cannes. Rather, the attention von Trier justly received stemmed from his playful experimentation and the darkly haunting atmosphere he evoked in settings which, whether set in the present like "Dancer in the Dark" (2000) or the past like "Dogville" (2004) somehow seemed futuristic and other-worldly. Part of von Trier's inventiveness stemmed from his refusal to honor conventions - exemplified by his famous Dogma 95 manifesto, in which von Trier and fellow Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg called for films to be made more simply, with hand-held cameras and available light, divesting themselves of modern fashions in filming and plotting. To some, he was an artistic trailblazer, to others, a self-aggrandizing provocateur; however, there was little doubt that the outspoken von Trier created films that were unmistakably - and unapologetically - entirely his own.