by Ian Pugh Presenting himself to us as an image reflected in a window, Lars von Trier literally begins The Boss of It All with an assurance that the following hundred minutes will be nothing more than a light comedy not worth "a moment's reflection." He then introduces us to pretentious, untalented actor Kristoffer (Jens Albinus), who has been hired by office worker Ravn (Peter Gantzler) to pose as the company's absentee president in delicate negotiations to merge with an Icelandic company. Kristoffer soon learns that there is no president beyond a fictional, faraway entity created by Ravn, the real company head, but once the employees catch wind of the "president"'s sudden appearance, he's forced to continue the illusion. The plot outline just screams "light comedy" (with "comic misunderstanding" being the name of this occasionally funny game), and while von Trier's opening remarks are obviously a transparent challenge, he also questions why we would take him up on it, why we would try to find deeper meaning in something intended to be taken at face value. Emphasizing the arbitrariness of it all, he leaves the cinematography to "Automavision," a computerized shot randomizer that crafts bizarre framing compositions, which in turn lead to off-putting jump cuts. (Meanwhile, Kristoffer is so obsessed with his favourite absurdist playwright that the attempts at homage distract from a convincing performance.) The Boss of It All differs from the why-bother hatred of The Ten, though, because the allegories put the pressure on us to determine a "right" way to look at a film: look too deeply, and you risk missing the point (or giving the filmmaker too much credit). But the obviousness of von Trier's parallel to his dissatisfaction with mediocrity and anti-intellectualism also adds the counterpoint: refuse to look into it at all and you're just wilfully blind. If the only thing it ultimately proves is that von Trier is still a cantankerous, contradictory bastard, then at least The Boss of It All gets us thinking about our expectations as filmgoers--and the responsibility for the quality of art that passes through our eyes.