Lars von Trier has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 66, per a statement from his representatives. The filmmaker is receiving treatment and will be able to finish his next project, the highly anticipated third season of “The Kingdom,” but will be keeping a lower public profile in the future.
“Lars is in good spirits and is being treated for his symptoms — and given treatment so he can complete ‘Riget Exodus,’” the statement said. “The illness means that Lars will only take part in interviews to a limited extent until the premiere later in the year.”
Von Trier has been a force to be reckoned with in the arthouse community since he burst onto the scene with “The Element of Crime” in 1984. His debut feature earned him a Palme d’Or nomination at the Cannes Film Festival that year and established him as a purveyor of dark, dreamlike, meticulously crafted films.
He continued to earn critical acclaim and controversy in equal measures throughout the 1980s and 1990s when he released a series of trilogies documenting people coping with traumatic events in European history. The Europa Trilogy began with “The Element of Crime” and also included “Epidemic” and “Europa.” He followed that with the Golden Heart Trilogy, which consisted of “Breaking the Waves,” “The Idiots,” and “Dancer in the Dark.”
He continued to be an active filmmaker throughout the 2000s and 2010s, and his next project is a new season of “The Kingdom,” a miniseries that he filmed two installments of at a hospital in Denmark. The new season is set to premiere at the Venice International Film Festival and stream on MUBI
The official synopsis for the new season reads: “Heavily influenced by the ghostly series ‘The Kingdom,’ the sleepwalker Karen seeks answers to the unresolved questions of the series in order to save the hospital from doom. Sound asleep one night, Karen wanders into the darkness and inexplicably ends up in front of the hospital. The gate to the Kingdom is opening once more…”
Von Trier has also frequently courted controversy throughout his career. He frequently makes provocative statements, portrays hardcore sex in his films, and was accused of sexually harassing Bjork while filming “Dancer in the Dark.”