The Element of Crime

Synopsis: Fisher, an ex-cop, returns to his old beat somewhere in northern Europe after a thirteen-year hiatus in Cairo. His former mentor and role model, author of a treatise called "The Element of Crime", asks him to solve a series of murders involving lottery ticket sellers. Guided by the theories put forth in the book, Fischer retraces the steps of a suspect, Harry Grey, as recorded in a three-year-old police surveillance report.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Director(s): Lars von Trier
Production: Criterion Collection
  12 wins & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
104 min

Fantasy is okay, but my job

is to keep you on the right track.

We are after the facts.

You seem to return to Cairo and me

whenever you have a problem.

Two months ago,

you left Cairo, your wife,


for a police job in Europe.

Now you are back,

haunted by headaches.

If you want me to help you

get rid of these headaches,

we must go back

two months in time,

back to where it all started.

All I know, Europe

has become an obsession to you.

What was the name again?

Mr. Fisher.

An obsession, Mr. Fisher,

a state of mind.

I have no doubt the stay

in Europe has been painful--


So you must go into that part

of your memory.

It's hard for you

to remember, you say.

Yes. Yes.

So to help you to remember,

we have agreed to try hypnosis.

Hypnosis is a sound method.

It cannot fail.

If you feel uneasy, tired, worried,

I'll bring you out of it.

Just ask me.

No problem.

No problem at all.

I want you to go back...

two months in the time.

I want you to leave Cairo--

the sand, the desert...




It's too much for Europeans.


You're going to see Europe again...

first time in 13 years.

I'm going to see Europe again...

for the first time in 13 years.

But Europe is not the same.

I have arrived at dusk.

The trip has made me restless.

I cannot sleep.

Water, water everywhere...

and not a drop to drink.

The story-- What is the story?

- Hello?

- I'm a policeman.

I've finally been called

back to Europe to solve a murder case.

- Hello?

- They told me I was able.

That's all I know.

I'm looking up Osborne,

- Hello!

- the only one I want to see again.

I've brought him something

from Egypt.

Where's the stairs?

You've moved the f***ing stairs.

You must tell me everything, Mr. Fisher.

What do you see?

Is anyone there?

There's a smell in the moist

corridor like burnt leather.

The housekeeper is leading me on.

She's grown old.

Good evening.

It's Fisher.

It's been a long time.

Fisher, for Christ's sake.

You really thought

I wouldn't recognize you?

So, tell me about yourself.


You went to Italy.

- Cairo.

- Really?

- Just a minute.

- The wind's picking up.

- Shhh. Shh, shh.

You were wise to go.

Best away.

They treated you badly.

But... Cairo?

How are things at the academy?

I haven't taught for years.

The teaching was restructured.

That was actually

the word they used.

I suppose I was

restructured too, hmm?

But now I'm quite content.

Did you see anybody out there?

Kramer's found a job for me.

Why not?

You're an able man, Fisher.

Not many left with your training.

Kramer knows.

Yes, I must admit I'm

really looking forward to it.

"The Element of Crime" in Egyptian.

Your paper.

The translation took two years.

Footnotes and everything.

The complete work.

Without asking my permission?

It didn't occur to you that I'd like

to know what happened to my book?

I did.

I wrote you.

- I would remember.

- You replied.

I don't recall that.

My wife died.

I sold all my books and papers.

Eine Kugel kam geflogen,

gilt sie mit order

gilt sie dir?

Yes, I finally

decided to get married.

She died for me.

I'm sorry.

She could do nothing by halves.

She certainly knew

how to be remembered.

It's the most important

thing-- the family.

I had a wife in Cairo.

Why do men leave their wives?

I cannot understand it.

It's incomprehensible to me.

The city was sanding over.

It was impossible to stay.

She was born there.

She couldn't leave.

I was the last

European to go.

A mixed marriage, hmm?

I find it hard to talk

about these things.

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Niels Vørsel

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Element of Crime" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 3 Oct. 2023. <>.

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