Nymphomaniac and Antichrist director Lars von Trier has given a revealing insight into his working practices and his well documented struggles with alcohol. In an interview with the Guardian, the outspoken filmmaker reveals that after an extended period of sobriety he is back on the booze so that he can work.
Earlier this year, von Trier had expressed fears that going sober could harness his creativity. "I don't know if I can make any more films and that worries me. There is no creative expression of artistic value that has ever been produced by ex-drunkards and ex-drug addicts," he said. Von Trier believes he works faster under the influence – Nymphomaniac was the first film he made sober, whereas the Palme D'Or-winning Dogville was reportedly made during a twelve day drug binge.
In his most recent interview, von Trier says that he attended AA every day for half a year and found support within the group. However, he admitted that he is back drinking now so that he can work. "When you shoot a film, it's hard work, and you tend to drink more," he said. He also drew a link between drunkenness and artistic sensitivity, saying "if you're an artist and you're drunk, you're more sensitive".
Any von Trier fans out there hoping for concrete evidence of what he's working on will be left disappointed – he says he doesn't quite know yet, describing a temptation to make a TV series while expressing a doubt over whether that's the direction he should move in.
It's well known that von Trier enjoys courting controversy – see his comments on Hitler – but there seems little doubt that he genuinely believes in the link between drinking, drugs and creativity. Read our piece exploring the idea of booze as a muse and the myths that surround artist addiction.