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The Element of Crime (1984) - movie overview

The Element of Crime (1984)

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Original title: Forbrydelsens element


DVD Release Date
• R1: Sep 19, 2000

Running Time
1 hour, 44 minutes

Country Denmark

Production Companies
Det Danske Filminstitut, Per Holst Filmproduktion

Studio Kaerne Film, Per Holst Film

More info on IMDb.com

Other Titles
• The Element of Crime
• Forbrydelsens element (1984)
• The Last Tourist in Europe
• more



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Genre: Drama, Murder, Suspense, Serial Killer, Detectives, Disturbing, Futuristic, Post-Apocalypse

Plot: Danish director Lars von Trier’s debut feature film--also his first English-language effort--is an extremely hypnotic, moody thriller. The story opens in the desert of Egypt, where police detective Leopold Fisher (Michael Elphick) is hypnotized and asked to recount the recent events of his life. It seems that Fisher has been called back to a small town where he has previously spent time in order to investigate the brutal murders of several little girls who sell lottery tickets. He reunites with his mentor, Osborne (Esmond Night), the writer of a controversial book entitled THE ELEMENT OF CRIME, in which he recommends that investigators adopt the point of view of killers in order to better predict subsequent tragedies. When Fisher meets Kim (Meme Lei), a beautiful young woman, the pair embarks on a journey that begins to blur the line between Fisher’s simulated killer and the real thing.

Von Trier’s film is a bold exercise in style, using hypnotism to support the slowly unfolding story. Visually, he soaks the film in a sepia tone, incorporating double exposures and super-8 footage to add even more stylish effect. The result is a deeply puzzling murder mystery that stands as an extremely bold directorial debut.

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 Directed by
Lars von Trier
Dogville, Dancer in the Dark, Breaking the Waves
 Written by
Lars von Trier
Dear Wendy, Unge år: Erik Nietzsche sagaen del 1, De, Marathon: Jens Okking
 Cast
Lars von Trier
Direktøren for det hele, Fem benspænd, De, Dogville Confessions
Michael Elphick
The Elephant Man, Withnail and I, Gorky Park
Esmond Knight
Black Narcissus, Peeping Tom, Hamlet
Me Me Lai
Eaten Alive, Jungle Holocaust, Deep River Savages
Jerold Wells
Sword of the Valiant, Gawain and the Green Knight, Maniac
Astrid Henning-Jensen
Danske piger viser alt
[more]
 Music By
Bo Holten
Min morfars morder



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