In Sprague’s list of his ten favourite films that he gives Marietta as she leaves him, The Element of Crime is number 9.
T is for Trier, Lars von Trier: the most exciting filmmaker of the past thirty years—and more.
H is for herring (red), horse (dead) and hero (in bed).
E is for energy: the fire that transforms vision and craft, intelligence and grace, into art.
E is for elemental: earth, air, fire and water; humus, breath, spirit and flesh.
L is for light: the sodium that sulphurs Element into otherness.
E is for eros: the force that humanizes as it animalizes, giving the artist the tension he needs to walk the highwire.
M is for manifesto: a filmmaker declaring his intentions over and against mediocrity.
E is for ecstatic: the hypnotic transport of the spectator out of the everyday.
N is for night: the womb of creation.
T is for time: the work of art timeless because made as if there’d be no tomorrow.
O is for opening: the closed circle whose constraints open out the possible.
F is for fucking: Fisher fucking Kim over the Beetle bonnet while she moves the windshield wipers to his thrusting rhythm: sexual representation as negotiation between the ridiculous and the sublime.
C is for child: the dignity of potential.
R is for resistance and renewal: the honesty of the artist who lives outside the law.
I is for individual: the daring of Dionysus, the affirmation of desire.
M is for music: film as form, the primal song, the place a man belongs when he belongs nowhere.
E is for Europe: the arrow of ambivalence through its German heart.