Our new series, Print Screen, invites the authors we admire to present the films that complement and have inspired their work. On the occasion of the U.S. release of Book Four in his brilliant, widely acclaimed My Struggle series, we invited Karl Ove Knausgaard to make a carte blanche selection. A devotee of Dogme 95, Knausgaard selected Lars von Trier’s sui generis The Idiots, which he will introduce. A Q&A and book signing will follow. Presented in collaboration with Archipelago Books and McNally Jackson.

Karl Ove Knausgaard was born in Norway in 1968. His debut novel, Out of This World, won the Norwegian Critics Prize in 2004, and A Time for Everything was a finalist for the Nordic Council Prize. My Struggle: Book One was a New Yorker Book of the Year and Book Two was listed among The Wall Street Journal’s 2013 Books of the Year. In 2014, Book Three was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. My Struggle is a New York Times Best Seller and has been translated into more than 15 languages. Knausgaard lives in Sweden with his wife and four children.

The Idiots / Idioterne
Lars von Trier, Denmark/Spain/Sweden/France/Netherlands/Italy, 1998, digital projection, 117m
Danish with English subtitles

Written in just four days, The Idiots is perhaps the most provocative example of the Dogme 95 program. Led by a feckless young fellow named Stoffer, a clutch of middle-class friends living in a commune take to “spassing” (pretending to be physically and mentally impaired) in public places and at private parties. Interspersed are scenes of the commune’s life, along with the story of a young woman’s attempt to become a member of the group. Von Trier achieves extraordinary intimacy with his actors, carefully charting the power shifts and struggles and providing clues as to the varying motivations for all this creative anarchy. Challenging but transfixing, The Idiots is a maelstrom of emotions and attitudes.