Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Lars Von Trier and the Lookey

Von Trier unveils 'Lookey'

Back in December, Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier announced that he had created a cinematic game involving 'visual disturbances' called Lookeys that be featured in his next film, The Boss of it All. The intention is to create a more active role for the audience; the first moviegoer to find all the Lookeys in the pic will win $5,360 and the opportunity to be an extra in his next film, an English-language horror pic called Anti-Christ.

I love the idea of audience participation in the cinema; it's too often that film is a passive medium. While I can't think of anything off the top of my head that has such a direct connection with the audience (3D? Smell-O-Vision?), I'm not sure that this is the best way to go about it. It sounds kind of kitchy, and once the secret is unveiled, it's all over. I hear the challenge is quite complicated, which might not motivate audiences in a theatrical release. Plus I hear you have to be able to understand Danish.

I think this is something that filmmakers should explore more in DVD. There's a series of childrens cartoons coming out based on the old Choose Your Own Adventure novels by allowing kids to decide what happens using their remote - I would love to see a filmmaker produce a DVD-only release that experiments with that idea. But what other ways can we make the cinema more active?

This is also a prime example of why I love Von Trier. Even when his experiments feel covoluted or under-developed, he's at least thinking about new ways to approach the cinema beyond a technical level.

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