(aka "Zentropa" )

 

directed by Lars von Trier
Denmark 1991

 

“You will now listen to my voice . . . On the count of ten you will be in Europa . . .” So begins Max von Sydow’s opening narration to Lars von Trier’s hypnotic Europa (known in the U.S. as Zentropa), a fever dream in which American pacifist Leopold Kessler (Jean-Marc Barr) stumbles into a job as a sleeping-car conductor for the Zentropa railways in a Kafkaesque 1945 postwar Frankfurt. With its gorgeous black-and-white and color imagery and meticulously recreated (if then nightmarishly deconstructed) costumes and sets, Europa is one of the great Danish filmmaker’s weirdest and most wonderful works, a runaway-train ride to an oddly futuristic past

***

Europa”, later renamed “Zentropa”, tells the story of a young naļve American, who comes to Germany after the war, to help rebuild the country, but ends up as a conductor in a sleeping wagon, and is slowly drawn into the shame and guilt of the nation.

Lars von Trier’s first masterpiece, one of the most visually innovative and beautifully films ever made, the film only received three prices at Cannes, Best Artistic Contribution, Grand Prix du Technique and Grand Prix de Jury, but not the Palme d’Or, which he so desperately wanted, that he, when receiving his award, gave the finger to the jury.

As time has passed, one can view Leopold as von Trier and Germany as the European film. As Leopold, von Trier was a very confused and very angry person, convinced of his own infallibility and genius, attempting to recreate the great European film, but ending up, in his own eyes, being insignificant. That Bergman had called him a genius, meant little to von Trier. He demanded recognition.

In retrospect, “Europa” is a flawed film, where von Trier tries too hard. Attempting to reinvent cinema and create a new artform, the story is only a supporting player to the grandiose images. It would take Prozac and some soul searching, before he found the inspiration and the joy for film again with “Breaking the Waves”. But grandiose it is, and it will forever be a landmark film of von Trier.

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 12, 1991 (Cannes Film Festival)

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison: 

Electric Parc/Tartan (The Lars von Trier Collection - 4 disc) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the artan and Electric Parc and Gregory Meshman for the Filmax!

NOTE: The Tartan is exactly the same as the Electric Parc edition!

(It is 100% identical to the one from Electric Parc, except the cover and the booklet are translated into English)

Reviewed HERE

DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution

Electric Parc

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine #  454

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:47:23 (4% PAL speedup) 1:52:04
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.81 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.0 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate : Electric Parc

Bitrate : Criterion

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital English, 5.1 Dolby Digital English, 2.0 Dolby Digital German (dub) 2.0 Dolby Digital English, German, Danish
Subtitles Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, English, German, French, Dutch and None English, and None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Electric Parc

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by Lars von Trier, Jean-Marc Barr and Udo Kier
• Audio commentary by Lars von Trier and Peter Aalbęk Jensen
• The making of 'Europa' (38:58 / 4:3)
• Anecdotes from 'Europa' (20:36 / 4:3)
• Trailer (2:35 / 16x9)

DVD Release Date:
Digipack Box

Chapters 13

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary featuring director Lars von Trier and producer Peter Aalbęk Jensen (in Danish, with English subtitles)
• The Making of “Europa” (1991)
• Documentary - Trier’s Element (1991)
• Anecdotes from Europa (2005)
• 2005 interviews with cinematographer Henning Bendtsen, composer Joachim Holbek, costume designer Manon Rasmussen, film-school teacher Mogens Rukov, editor/director Tómas Gislason, producer Peter Aalbęk Jensen, art director Peter Grant, actor Michael Simpson, production manager Per Arman, actor Ole Ernst
• A conversation with Lars von Trier (2005)
• Europa—The Faecal Location (2005), a short film by Gislason
• 12-page liner notes booklet featuring a new essay by critic Howard Hampton

DVD Release Date: December 9th, 2008
Transparent Keep case

Chapters 17

 

Comments ADDITION: Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - November 08': The image is as the image is - it has some subtle, and overt, shifting in styles and I don't see too much difference between the Criterion and the Electric Parc/Tartan editions (by the way, reviewed fully HERE). The Criterion does show more information along the left edge - colors may be more 'real' on the Criterion (skin tones) but both seem to have the same amount of digital noise. Weighing all the plus and minuses the Criterion (also progressive and dual-layered) nudges ahead in the image department - possibly because it shares the disc with less supplemental material. I did see some very infrequent combing on the Criterion making me suspect the alchemist transfer method was utilized - but it also may have been another style intent - I can't be 100% sure.

NOTE: Gregory was kind enough to send us some of the non-anamorphic Filmax Region 2 - PAL captures but it seems that it is out of contention in the running for image supremacy of Europa.

Both Tartan/Electric Parc and Criterion offer subtitles - Criterion only in English and the PAL edition in a variety of language choices. Both also offer 2.0 channel audio but I believe the Electric Parc provides a German DUB as well.

Extras - Criterion duplicates audio commentary featuring director Lars von Trier and producer Peter Aalbęk Jensen (in Danish, with English subtitles) but loses the one with Lars von Trier, Jean-Marc Barr and Udo Kier. On a second dual-layered disc the Criterion repeats the Anecdotes from Europa (2005), a short documentary featuring interviews with film historian Peter Schepelern, actor Jean-Marc Barr, producer Peter Aalbęk Jensen, assistant director Tómas Gislason, co-writer Niels Vųrsel, and prop master Peter Grant and the The Making of “Europa” (1991), a documentary following the film from storyboarding to production. What's new? - we get Trier’s Element (1991), a documentary featuring an interview with von Trier, and footage from the set and Europa’s Cannes premiere and press conference. Anecdotes from Europa (2005), is a short documentary featuring interviews with film historian Peter Schepelern, actor Jean-Marc Barr, producer Peter Aalbęk Jensen, assistant director Tómas Gislason, co-writer Niels Vųrsel, and prop master Peter Grant. Some interesting 2005 interviews with cinematographer Henning Bendtsen (about Dreyer!), composer Joachim Holbek, costume designer Manon Rasmussen, film-school teacher Mogens Rukov, editor/director Tómas Gislason, producer Peter Aalbęk Jensen, art director Peter Grant, actor Michael Simpson, production manager Per Arman, actor Ole Ernst. There is a conversation with Lars von Trier from 2005, in which the director speaks about the “Europa” trilogy and a short film, entitled Europa—The Faecal Location from 2005 by Gislason. There is a 12-page liner notes booklet featuring a new essay by critic Howard Hampton.  

Nothing new - Criterion gives us some extensive supplements on a masterpiece film - with the best looking transfer - as far as we are aware. Recommended!

Gary Tooze

*****

 

ON THE ELECTRIC PARC (TARTAN):
The first audio commentary is by Lars von Trier and producer Peter Aalbęk, once again a very relaxed, very casual commentary, where they comment the film, talk about actors, scenes and so on. In Danish, but subtitled in available languages.

The second audio commentary is by Lars von Trier and actors Udo Kier and Jean-Marc Barr. Sadly, this commentary is a complete waste of time. Not only does it have very long pauses, but they spend most of the time laughing at their own jokes or just laughing, asking Lars what this or that actors name is, or adding non-relevant anecdotes as, "This is where I cut my finger.", or "This guy was great." One thing is that Lars is notorious for making very casual commentaries, but this one should probably not have been on the DVD.

There are two documentaries added. The first was made for French television in 1991, taking us behind the scenes, showing actual production, then the later result in the film. The second is once again one of the specially for this DVD made "Anecdotes", where actors and production crew come with great anecdotes about the production.

No Easter egg on this DVD.

- Henrik Sylow

 

 



DVD Menus Electric Parc
 

 

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC
 

Disc 2

 


Screen Captures


Subtitle sample (English only)
 

1) Tartan and Electric Parc The Lars von Trier Collection - 4 disc  - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Filmax - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 

 

 


1) Tartan and Electric Parc The Lars von Trier Collection - 4 disc  - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Filmax - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) Tartan and Electric Parc The Lars von Trier Collection - 4 disc  - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Filmax - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM

 

 

 


Criterion Commentary subtitle sample

 

 

More Criterion captures

 

 
DVD Box Cover

 




 

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Gary Tooze

Thank You!