Rated 5.0

It would be appropriate but redundant to label Lars von Trier’s 1991 masterpiece Europa as “hypnotic.” The opening scene features a mesmerist luring his subject into a hypnotic state and, indeed, the film itself appears to be in some sort of trance. Foregrounds and backgrounds were shot separately, then ingeniously combined to create a feeling of being unstuck in time, space and logic (it took two years just to storyboard Europa). The story plays like an early Hitchcock potboiler helmed by Bergman or Tarkovsky. Jean-Marc Barr plays an American pacifist working aboard a creepy night train in a surreal postwar Germany; he just wants to “show some kindness” to the Germans, but in his idealistic withdrawal unwittingly aids every industrialist, fascist and terrorist he meets.