Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Lars von Trier|
|Produced by||Jacob Eriksen|
|Written by||Lars von Trier
|Starring||Lars von Trier
|Music by||Peter Bach|
|Edited by||Thomas Kragh|
Det Danske Filminstitut
|Distributed by||Angel Films|
Epidemic is a 1987 Danish science fiction horror film directed by Lars von Trier and the second installment of von Trier's Europa trilogy. The other two films in the trilogy are The Element of Crime (1984) and Europa (1991).
Co-written by von Trier and Niels Vørsel, the film focuses on the screenwriting process. Vørsel and von Trier play themselves, coming up with a last-minute script for a producer. The story is inter-cut with scenes from the film they write, in which von Trier plays a renegade doctor trying to cure a modern-day epidemic. The film marks the first in a series of collaborations between von Trier and Udo Kier.
The film is divided into five days. On the first day the protagonists, screenwriters Lars and Niels lose the only copy of a film script (Kommisæren Og Luderen, "The Policeman and the Whore", a reference to The Element of Crime). They begin to write a new script about an epidemic: the outbreak of a plague-like disease. The protagonist is a doctor, Mesmer, who, against the will of the Faculty of Medicine of an unknown city, goes to the countryside to help people. During the next days, the facts of the script join the real-life events in which a similar disease starts to spread. Lars and Niels go to Germany, where they meet a man, who describes the bombing of Cologne during World War II.
After the trip, Niels goes to a hospital where he undergoes a minor surgical procedure, and tells Lars to go to see Palle, a pathologist who is performing an autopsy on a man who has recently died of an unknown disease. The last day, Lars and Niels have a dinner with their producer, to whom they reveal the end of the film, that Mesmer and his medical kit have spread the disease. The producer doesn't like the short twelve-page script, which has no violence, few deaths, and no subplots (which are common in Danish cinema). After that a hypnotist and a woman arrive in the house, to "help" writing the script, but the woman is overpowered by the visions of the script which are becoming real. She commits suicide, then another woman who shares the house with Lars and Niels dies too, and Niels begins showing the signs of the disease.
- Lars von Trier as himself / Dr. Mesmer
- Niels Vørsel as himself
- Allan De Waal
- Ole Ernst
- Michael Gelting
- Colin Gilder
- Svend Ali Hamann as himself
- Claes Kastholm Hansen as himself
- Ib Hansen
- Anja Hemmingsen
- Kirsten Hemmingsen
- Cæcilia Holbek
- Gert Holbek
- Udo Kier as himself
- Jørgen Christian Krüff
- Jan Kornum Larsen
- Gitte Lind as herself
Release and awards
Epidemic is the lowest-rated of the Europa trilogy, currently holding a 33% 'rotten' rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on six reviews. Conversely, on Metacritic, the film has a 66 out of 100 rating, signifying "generally favorable reviews".
- Lasagna, Roberto; Lena, Sandra (12 May 2003). Lars von Trier. Gremese Editore. p. 124. ISBN 978-88-7301-543-7. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
- "Festival de Cannes: Epidemic". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- "1988 Fantasporto: Porto International Film Festival". indiepixfilms.com. Retrieved 2011-05-22.
- "Epidemic - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- "Epidemic". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- Hoberman, J. (11 November 2003). "Film - Page 1 - Movies - New York - Village Voice". villagevoice.com. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- Epidemic at the Internet Movie Database
- Epidemic at the TCM Movie Database
- Epidemic at Rotten Tomatoes
- Epidemic at Metacritic