Danish director's film leads to walkouts, outrage at Cannes

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This morning, on the eve of its Cannes premiere, IFC Films unleashed the first trailer for The House That Jack Built, the latest foray into madness from von Trier, which stars Academy Award nominee Matt Dillon as a serial killer who "views each of his murders as a work of art". And while his character espouses equal interest in killing men and women, it's von Trier's female characters who are slaughtered with the most gusto. According to reports, hundreds of viewers left the screening and called it "vomitive" and "vile", to name just a few of the most moderate comments. Several accusations were directed at Zentropa co-founder and "The House That Jack Built" producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen.

Ramin Settodeh, New York bureau chief for Variety, reported that he overheard one woman say "it's disgusting" as she left. If you are born male you are born to be guilty.

Last year, it was revealed that von Trier was working on the project and he cited Donald Trump as an inspiration.

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But the sequence that sparked most revulsion - and also shook Dillon - was when Jack hunts down two children and their mother he invites on a picnic.

There is also a scene in which he practises amateur taxidermy on one of his victims. Which begs the question: why would von Trier repent if he doesn't expect a response? "But come on! I'm not for the Second World War, and I'm not against Jews". 'I think he did some wrong things, yes, absolutely, but I can see him sitting in his bunker in the end'.

The Hollywood Reporter had earlier slammed the film as "an autoerotic ego massage. often as inane as it is unsettling".

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But the director denied the film was macho push-back after the #MeToo revolution, which he said was convicting people without a judge.

"Where's Harvey?" he quipped, "I don't know any other persona non grata at Cannes". Speaking to the Guardian at the time, he said that the film will celebrate "the idea that life is evil and soulless, which is sadly proven by the recent rise of the Homo trumpus - the rat king".

One thing's for sure, Dillon is magnificent in a very courageous role to take on - he may even be at a career best as Jack, but a stand-out performance is such a film that will be so lambasted over the coming moths leading to release, it'll be interesting if any recognition comes its way.

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