The Boss of It All: Surprise! Lars von Trier Makes Capitalism Fun

Danish provocateur Lars von Trier took a break from his much-ballyhooed (but financially disastrous) U.S.A. Trilogy to make this unexpectedly playful, small-scale farce about the president of an IT company who invents a phantom "boss" to shoulder the blame for his own executive decisions. The movie is, on one level, an ideal workplace comedy for the era of downsizing, outsourcing, and fantasy accounting. On another, it's a revealing checkup on the health and well-being of its own director's career—and of cinema itself—in the digital era. A decade after von Trier and a cabal of filmmaking countrymen took a semi-infamous "vow of chastity" and a movement known as Dogme was born, The Boss of It All was made in accordance with a new set of dictates called Automavision, by which a randomized computer program serves as the movie's de facto cinematographer and sound mixer. It's as if von Trier, who has been publicly critical of Hollywood's CGI-laden epics, is showing us how close we are to the time when movies will be directed by machines instead of artists. Perhaps he's telling us that we're already there.

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