Director Lars von Trier diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and ‘is in good spirits’

A man with shoulder-length hair and a beard wearing a tuxedo at a film premiere
Director Lars Von Trier poses for photographers at the premiere of his film “The House That Jack Built” at the 71st Cannes Film festival in France on May 14, 2018.
(Vianney Le Caer / Invision / Associated Press)

Filmmaker Lars von Trier has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and is in “good spirits” while being treated for the symptoms of the brain disorder.

Th news came Monday from Zentropa Entertainment, the production company Von Trier co-founded with Peter Aalbæk Jensen in 1992.

“In agreement with Lars von Trier, Zentropa has chosen to publish that Lars has diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease,” Von Trier’s longtime producer Louise Vesth said in the production company’s statement to Danish press.

The statement also announced that the “Melancholia” and “Nymphomaniac” writer-director will complete “The Kingdom Exodus,” the third and final season of his acclaimed series “The Kingdom.”


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“Lars is in good spirits and is being treated for his symptoms and the work to complete THE KINGDOM EXODUS continues as planned,” Vesth said.

Von Trier was diagnosed “just before the summer holidays” and the company shared the development in order to avoid any speculation about his health leading up to the show’s premiere, the statement said. The 66-year-old will “only take part in interviews to a very limited extent” because of the illness.

“The Kingdom Exodus” will be released later this year, closing the haunted hospital saga that premiered on Danish public television in 1994. The final chapter is set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival, which kicks off Aug. 31 and will be distributed in North America and several other regions by Mubi, according to Variety

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Von Trier’s progressive disease, is caused by the degeneration of nerve cells and can lead to unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination, according to the National Institute of Health. Actor Michael J. Fox, boxer Muhammad Ali and singer Linda Ronstadt are among other high-profile people diagnosed with Parkinson’s.


The Danish filmmaker is also known for directing “Antichrist,” “Dogville” and the musical “Dancer in the Dark” (2000), which earned von Trier the Palme d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival. He was famously banned from the French Riviera-set festival for seven years after he said during a 2011 press conference for “Melancholia” that he “sympathized” with Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.

He returned to the festival in 2018 to debut “The House That Jack Built.”