Lars von Trier's Riget/The Kingdom season 3

Riget is a brilliant, very odd Danish supernatural hospital drama/comedy from director provocateur Lars von Trier, which premiered in 1990. You should 100% check out the first two seasons, they’re great, if without a conclusive ending. There was always a plan to do a season 3, but things didn’t work out and in the meantime multiple critical cast members died. I fully assumed as a result that season 3 would never, ever materialize. Today I learned that is no longer the case:

I have no idea what the fuck this looks like (and I strongly suspect it will not be much closer to the original experience than Twin Peaks: The Return was to oldschool Twin Peaks), but I guess I gotta be there and find out.

Loved Riget, but not too enthused about the prospect of a revival, nor about a von Trier project these days.

I really have very little interest in…everything else he’s ever done. And I doubt his sensibilities today reflect what I liked about Riget. But…still. I need to know.

I enjoyed watching Riget when it debuted, but he might have lost me with Breaking the Waves, which was seriously depressing. Emily Watson didn’t deserve that fate.

That reminds me of the Danish movie Nattevagten, with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Sofie Gråbøl.

“No good movies are depressing. All bad movies are depressing.” -Roger Ebert

He’s a hack nowadays, and not someone I am interested in seeing anything from.
Riget 1 and 2 were fine TV at the time, but yeah - Nattevagten was soooo goood! Especially, and this is something I guess was lost on all overseas viewers, since the one who was the actual killer, was someone all danes KNEW never did anything wrong (He’s a folkhero of sorts, and loved by all) so it was a double shock - and extremely well-casted!

For those who are interested, here is the teaser for the next season.

I’m Danish, and I grew up on the grounds of a hospital that my father ran, so as a kid I was running around in hallways that looked exactly like the ones in The Kingdom, and I was used to watching those old Mercedes ambulances come in, so it’s safe to say the show scared me and my siblings witless. That and the X-Files are the cornerstones of my horror fascination.

I completely understand if people are skeptical about Lars Von Trier at this point, but his problem is always focus, it’s not competence, so I’m interested to see what he’ll do.

Shortly after the premiere, another Danish hero, or anti-hero, Casper Christensen (of Klovn fame) did a routine where he asked everyone in the audience to raise their hands if they had seen Nightwatch, and then he asked everyone to raise their hands if they were going to see it, and then he just told them who the killer was.

You think something like that might actually make @tomchick do a Will Smith, or would he have seen it coming and jumped out a window before he got to the, ahem, punch line?

Man, I disagreed with a lot of Ebert 's reviews and now I know why. That’s pretty much the opposite of my approach.

I certainly understand that tastes are different and some folks don’t go in for the heavier emotional content. This is especially true if you’ve been through some shit like illness, death in the family, etc. and you prefer to keep it light.

I think what Ebes was reacting to is the over-reliance on that arguably simplistic, catch-all word, ‘depressing’ which I think gets used dismissively too often. (I put the word ‘weird’ in the same category.) Might be related to the gap between people who prefer escapism over empathy, Hollywood over arthouse, movies over films, etc.

In a similar vein, I’ve noticed a ton of my young film students are quite dismissive and judgmental about ‘jump scares’ in horror movies. I try to point out that being startled happens to us in real life and it can be an extremely effective technique in managing fear in your audience. Don’t let cheap, clunky jump-scares turn you off to all bursts of sudden fright in the movies. And don’t let the notion of depressing movies turn you off to depth-of-feeling in movies.

That comparison might make sense only in my head. :D

I think the reason I like to advocate for emotionally heavy movies is they can help arm you for real life throwing hard things at you. Same goes for horror movies! They help toughen us up. You make it through and come out the other side.

Back on topic: I need to get around to seeing The Kingdom!

I get exactly what you mean. Describing a piece of performed music as “depressing” or a movie as “depressing” is in the same realm of critical thought as describing a game as “fun” to my mind. Perfectly cromulent for fan discussion, but probably should be used pretty sparingly in less casual critical analysis.

And Roger Ebert loved movies that many might casually describe as “depressing”. Cries and Whispers was one of his all time favorites, and that movie is a hide-the-razor-blades special.

I don’t know the context, but I doubt it is supposed to be read as literally as you seem to be interpreting it. Ebert’s probably not saying good movies can’t be depressing, or that all bad movies are automatically about depressing themes, because that’s stupid, and Ebert–whatever you think of him–wasn’t a stupid man. Instead, I think he’s saying just that the very fact that a movie is good buoys up the human spirit, regardless of its themes.

But so does Hard Ticket To Hawaii!

Well said, Doc!

That would still be a lie though. I’ve seen a lot of movies that I loved that also kinda ruined my day.

Which is okay! I appreciate those experiences as excursions to the dark side of existence, but if you feel happier or stronger after experiencing a piece of deeply painful fiction, then I worry about you.

It does something to you that can be very valuable - for some people I think it can also be very harmful - but whatever it is, it’s definitely more akin to gazing into the abyss.

It’s not a lie, I don’t think. Just a difference of perception and semantics. When I watch something that depresses the fuck out of me, I would still say that I feel my spirit is buoyed by it. Even if it makes me miserable, a good film makes me feel ecstatic in the way a bad one never can, making my inner emotional life broader and more vibrant. I think Ebert’s trying to say something similar.

Fair enough, that’s just what my brain says when I read it. I’m convinced you and triggercut have the right idea, I just think the quote does a terrible job of expressing it.

Probably intended as a throwaway line, more than a brilliant dictum :)