Lars Von Trier’s Trump-inspired horror sparks mass walkout at Cannes

Critics have said it ‘shouldn’t have been made’

Critics at Cannes have canned Lars von Trier’s latest film, The House That Jack Built, which saw up to 100 people walk out before the end. Some said the contentious Danish auteur had “gone too far”.

Ahead of his Monday night premiere, a harrowing teaser trailer dropped featuring the psychopathic protagonist, portrayed by Oscar nominee Matt Dillon. Set in Washington in the 70s and 80s, it follows 12 years in the life of a “highly intelligent” serial killer. Uma Thurman and Riley Keough make cameos as Dillon’s blood-splattered victims. Despite the prior warning, many have tweeted in shock.

One reportedly said to Kyle Buchanan of New York Magazine: “He mutilates Riley Keough, he mutilates children... and we are all there in formal dress expected to watch it?”. Another tweeted that the movie was “vile” and “should not have been made”.

Last year, it was revealed that von Trier was working on the project and he cited Donald Trump as an inspiration. According to an interview with the director, The House That Jack Built is supposed to draw parallels to the current political situation in the US – particularly the rise of the new Republican president. 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.”

It’s a dramatic return for von Trier who was declared persona non grata (an unwelcome person) by the festival in 2011. “For many years I’ve made films about good women, now I did a film about an evil man,” he wrote in the press notes.

See some more of the reactions below: