Lars von Trier - "I am an American woman"
In sign and sight via black feminism.org
Q: In "Manderlay" you raise the question of whether slavery is still in place in the USA, years after it was abolished.
A: That's why I was not remotely surprised by what happened in New Orleans. It was as if storm had to come along to open the Americans' eyes. To show them the conditions in which the black population lives.
Q: In "Manderlay" Danny Glover plays an elderly slave. He says that even after slavery has been abolished it's more honest to carry on living in simulated slavery than in a freedom which is no such thing. Do you share this opinion?
A: As I was writing "Manderlay" I was thinking about getting rid of the word freedom from our vocabulary. After all it's impossible to define. If you're on a desert island then you are probably fairly free. But you have to eat and drink and that restricts your freedom again. But if you take away all the romanticism that surrounds the word, then it's just about finding the best and most pleasant way of living your life. And if you then call this slavery, it's also okay. Maybe a slave who is subordinate to a man with a whip has more dignity than a slave who is held in check by economic forces. In the world of economics, the assumption is that the clever, hard-working person will manage to feed his family and even go on to become really wealthy. In this world, it's your fault if you're black and poor, because you're free. Or at least what they call free. You could say that the scenario in "Manderlay" is crazy. But my films are my fantasy and my argument in one. more