Lars von Trier’s Animated Movie Made When He Was 11 Years Old

Words like “adorable” and “cute” don’t come read­i­ly to mind when talk­ing about Dan­ish direc­tor Lars von Tri­er, but that’s exact­ly how you can describe the stop motion ani­mat­ed film he made when he was 11 years old. Sure, you can also describe the two-minute short — Turen til Squash­land: En Super Pølse Film (The Trip to Squash Land: A Super Sausage Film) — as creepy and vague­ly unset­tling, adjec­tives much more com­mon­ly applied to the film­mak­er.

Von Tri­er is, of course, cinema’s reign­ing bad boy. His Antichrist is a scar­ring descent into mad­ness filled with bad sex, talk­ing fox­es and hor­rif­i­cal­ly graph­ic self-muti­la­tion. Any­one who’s seen the movie will nev­er look at a pair of scis­sors in the same way. His 2011 movie Melan­cho­lia is a glo­ri­ous ode to depres­sion and glob­al anni­hi­la­tion; a beau­ti­ful anti-rev­el­ry on how much every­thing in the world sucks. And his most recent movie, Nympho­ma­ni­ac, is a 4‑hour long movie — divid­ed in two, Kill Bill style — fea­tur­ing some of the most joy­less unsim­u­lat­ed onscreen cou­plings this side of the Paris Hilton sex tape.

Turen til Squash­land, on the oth­er hand, is about a sen­tient sausage who rides a black whale to res­cue a bun­ny rab­bit. The film was shot by the tweenaged Tri­er (he added the ‘von’ to his name in film school) on his Super 8mm cam­era in 1967. In terms of tech­nique and design, it is shock­ing­ly good. The short has a naïve sweet­ness that Wes Ander­son often aspires to while hav­ing the uncan­ny dream-like qual­i­ty of an ear­ly David Lynch movie.

It’s tempt­ing to parse Turen til Squash­land to gain some insight into von Tri­er’s lat­er auteurist obses­sions. Does von Trier’s ten­den­cy to place the vul­ner­a­ble and the love­able in the clutch­es of a cru­el and heart­less vil­lain start here? While the ever-adorable Björk ends up dan­gling from the end of a rope in Dancer in the Dark, the bun­ny in this movie thank­ful­ly makes it out alive. Cas­tra­tion is anoth­er reoc­cur­ring theme in von Trier’s work. Does that have any­thing to do with the free-range sausage pro­tag­o­nist? And does the talk­ing fox in Antichrist have its ori­gins in this movie’s trio of head spin­ning rab­bits?

The one ele­ment, how­ev­er, that has no con­nec­tion to his lat­er work is the short’s end, which shows a plac­ard read­ing “Slut.” That has noth­ing to do with his lat­est movie or von Tri­er’s com­pli­cat­ed rela­tion­ship with women. The word “slut” means “The End” in Dan­ish.

More ani­mat­ed films can be found in our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Via Dan­ger­ous Minds

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Steven Spielberg’s Debut: Two Films He Direct­ed as a Teenag­er

Tim Burton’s Ear­ly Stu­dent Films: King and Octo­pus & Stalk of the Cel­ery Mon­ster

See Carl Sagan’s Child­hood Sketch­es of The Future of Space Trav­el

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow.

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