This year, fresh off two comedic scripts (one of which he directed), Lars von Trier announced that he was suffering from depression and had lost his urge to make films. The director has always challenged the typical and the 'normal,' so it's a bit fitting that his ailment would come after the comedy, and not after the heavy, dramatic films like Dogville and Manderlay. Perhaps he became troubled when he tapped into his youth; Lars von Trier is also Erik Nietzsche -- the man who wrote Jacob Thuesen's new comedy Erik Nietzsche -- The Early Years.
The comedy focuses on a young man named Erik Nietzsche, and is based on von Trier's memories of film school. As the film starts, Erik is a nice, gentle young man trying to find his path in life. Unfortunately, his efforts aren't leading to success, and he gets rejected from every school he applies to. Then, however, he submits a leaf-loving short film to the Danish National Film School. Before he can get rejected yet again, lascivious chance slips his application into the accepted pile and Erik becomes a film student amongst a motley collection of wannabe filmmakers -- from the feminist to the ego-maniacal control freak. As time passes, Erik barely holds onto his spot as he struggles for his alternative, cinematic eye to be accepted by his stubborn school. He shocks his principal and professors with forays into The Decameron and a daring screenplay adaptation of some Marquis de Sade.