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Camera! Action! Natural Light Only!

August 25, 1999

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) _ Eccentric filmmaker Lars von Trier has demanded that his widely acclaimed movie ``The Idiots″ be withdrawn from theaters.

The offense? Executive producer Peter Aalbaek Jensen’s decision to use artificial lighting without telling the director _ an ``unforgivable″ transgression, von Trier said in a statement.

``I plead guilty. I have been unfaithful to Lars,″ Aalbaek Jensen said. ``Otherwise it would have been impossible to see what was happening.″

He added that the movie would not be withdrawn from theaters.

In 1995, three Danish directors _ von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg and Soeren Kragh-Jacobsen _ wrote the ``Dogma Manifesto″ in which they vowed to respect certain minimalist production techniques.

The trio have won international prizes for their films. Vinterberg’s ``The Celebration,″ about incest and suicide in a family, won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998. Von Trier’s works include ``Europa″ and ``Breaking the Waves.″

``The Idiots″ is a provocative film about middle-class misfits feigning mental retardation to mock modern society. It was made in 1998 _ ostensibly without props, lighting, or special effects.

In his statement, von Trier said he intended to launch ``a version (of the film) which is 100 percent controlled by me.″

The movie opened across Europe last year. Aalbaek Jensen said he told von Trier that new copies would not be altered, including the ones to be sent to the United States.

``The Idiots″ is scheduled to open in selected U.S. theaters in coming months.

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