Cult director Lars von Trier suffers from Parkinson’s disease

The Danish star director, who has suffered massively from anxiety, panic attacks and depression since childhood, has Parkinson’s disease.

The Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier (66) has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The Danish broadcaster DR reported on Monday, citing its production company Zentropa. As a result, the director (“Idiots”, “Antichrist”, “Melancholia”) is in a good mood despite the diagnosis. He is being treated for the symptoms but can continue working on the mini-horror series “Riget Exodus” as planned.

Von Trier, who owes his surname to the fact that his foster father’s ancestors once emigrated to Denmark from the German city of Trier, won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2000 for “Dancer in the Dark” starring Icelandic musician Björk. His international breakthrough came in 1994 with the TV series “Hospital der Geister” (Riget) and in 1996 with the multi-award-winning feature film “Breaking the Waves”.

The slowly progressing Parkinson’s disease causes cells in the brain that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine to die. This hinders the control of body movements and causes, among other things, the typical tremors of those affected.

Lars von Trier’s health has always been an issue in recent years. In 2018, for example, he told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” that he was constantly tired and could hardly stay awake. Von Trier said his life had been marked by fear, panic attacks and depression since childhood. His psychotropic drugs, he said at the time, are now in such high doses that his hands are constantly shaking, which means he can hardly use his cell phone.