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Europa

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Denmark, Sweden, France

1991

Rated R • 1h 53m

Director Lars von Trier

Starring Jean-Marc Barr, Barbara Sukowa, Udo Kier, Max von Sydow

Genre Drama

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Postwar Germany, 1945. Leopold Kessler, an American of German descent, works as a sleeping car conductor for the Zentropa railway line. When he meets Katharina Hartmann, the railroad owner's daughter, and they fall in love, his life intersects with the dark and violent path of a mysterious organization opposed to the United States army military occupation.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

75

Washington Post by Hal Hinson

It's an obscure experience, partly alienating, partly enthralling; it weaves a spell that is frightening, irritating and invigorating all at once.
78

Austin Chronicle by Marc Savlov

In the end, Zentropa is above all unique in its radical take on the inherent confusion of postwar Europe, offering the viewer a glimpse like none he has had before.
50

Los Angeles Times by Peter Rainer

Von Trier is undeniably talented, but Zentropa, which won the 1991 Jury Prize at Cannes, comes across mostly as an exercise in pseudo-profundity. It’s got more metaphors than it knows what to do with.
75

The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

Europa has been described as a Kafka-esque fever dream, and while that isn't inaccurate, it's also a cover for the film's confounding narrative, which wends through murky noir plotting, a polyglot of accents and performance styles, and surreal interludes. The best approach is not to puzzle too much over the details, and to marvel at von Trier's technical wizardry, which re-imagines the period through a patchwork of vivid impressions.
80

The New York Times by Stephen Holden

Although the actual story of Zentropa is the stuff of an ordinary thriller, that plot is the only conventional aspect of a film that is an almost impudently flashy and knowing exercise in post-modern cinematic expressionism.
80

Empire by William Thomas

Labyrintine and hypnotic, there's undoubtedly more style than substance to the film, but Von Trier manages to blind and bewilder his audience in a truly masterful manner.

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