Manifesto III: I Confess! (Denmark, 1990)
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174 • N A T I O N A L A N D T R A N S N A T I O N A L C I N E M A S bitter old film-maker, a dull puritan who praises the intellect-crushing virtues of niceness. We want to see heterosexual films, made for, about and by men. We want visibility! MANIFESTO II (Denmark, 1987) Lars von Trier [First published 17 May 1987 to coincide with the premiere of Epidemic at the Cannes Film Festival.] Everything seems fine. Young men are living in stable relationships with a new generation of films. The birth-control methods which are assumed to have contained the epidemic have only served to make birth control more effective: no unexpected creations, no illegitimate children—the genes are intact. These young men’s relationships resemble the endless stream of Grand Balls in a bygone age. There are also those who live together in rooms with no furniture. But their love is growth without soul, replication without any bite. Their “wildness” lacks discipline and their “discipline” lacks wildness. long live the bagatelle! The bagatelle is humble and all-encompassing. It reveals creativity without making a secret of eternity. Its frame is limited but magnanimous, and therefore leaves space for life. Epidemic manifests itself in a well-grounded and serious relationship with these young men, as a bagatelle—because among bagatelles, the masterpieces are easy to count. MANIFESTO III: I CONFESS! (Denmark, 1990) Lars von Trier [First published 29 December 1990 to coincide with the premiere of Europa.] Seemingly all is well: Film director Lars von Trier is a scientist, artist, and human being. And yet I say: I am a human being. But I’m an artist. But I’m a film director. N A T I O N A L A N D T R A N S N A T I O N A L C I N E M A S • 175 I cry as I write these lines, for how sham was my attitude. Who am I to lecture and chastise ? Who am I to scornfully brush aside other people’s lives and work? My shame is only compounded by my apology that I had been seduced by the arrogance of science falling to the ground as a lie! For it is true that I have been trying to intoxicate myself in a cloud of sophistries about the purpose of art and the artist’s obligations, that I have thought up ingenious theories on the anatomy and the nature of film, but—and I confess this openly—I have never come close to disguising my innermost passion with this pathetic smoke screen: my carnal desire. Our relationship with film can be described and explained in many ways. We should make films with the intention to educate, we may want to use film as a ship that will take us on a journey to unknown lands, or we can claim that the goal of our films is to make the audience laugh or cry, and pay. This may all sound plausible, but I do not believe in it. There is only one excuse for living through—and forcing others to live through—the hell of the filmmaking process: the carnal satisfaction in that fraction of a second when the cinema’s loudspeakers and projector in unison and inexplicably give rise to the illusion of motion and sound like an electron leaving its orbit and thus creating light, in order to create only one thing—a miraculous breath of life! This is the filmmaker’s only reward, hope, and craving. This carnal experience when movie magic really works, rushing through the body like a quivering orgasm. . . . It is my quest for this experience that has always been and always will be behind all my work and efforts . . . nothing else! There, I’ve written it, and it felt good. And forget all the bogus explanations about “childlike fascination” and “all-encompassing humility.” For here is my confession: lars von trier, a simple masturbator of the silver screen. Still, in part three of the trilogy, Europa, I have not made even the slightest attempt at a diversion. Purity and clarity have been achieved at last! Here nothing conceals reality under a sickly layer of “art.” . . . No trick is too tacky, no device too cheap, no effect too tasteless. just give me a single tear or one drop of sweat; i will gladly give you all the world...