Born April 30 in Kongens Lyngby, Denmark, to Fritz Michael Hartmann and Inger Høst. Later on, his mother married Ulf Triet and Lars adopted the surname of his stepfather. His biological father was the head of Ministry of Social Affairs in Denmark.
His first publicly released film was an experimental short called The Orchid Gardener. The film consists of a series of scenes, the chronological order of which is ambiguous, loosely relaying the experiences of the protagonist Victor Marse (Lars von Trier), whose actual name is Felimann von Marseburg
Von Trier graduated the National Film School of Denmark. He was born Lars Trier, but while in school he added the prefix von—traditionally an indicator of membership in the aristocracy—to his surname in an attempt to be provocative.
His first feature film came seven years later, The Element of Crime, von Trier's breakthrough film, received twelve awards at seven international festivals including the Technical Grand Prize at Cannes, and a nomination for the Palme d'Or.
In 1989, on her deathbed, Trier's mother revealed to her son that his biological father was Fritz Michael Hartmann who was German-speaking, Roman Catholic. Till then Trier considered Ulf Trier to be his real father.
Trier along with his producer friend, Peter Aalbaek started a Danish film company, Zentropa Entertainment, which has sold more than 350 million tickets and garnered seven Academy Award nominations over the past 25 years.
Von Trier and Danish director Thomas Vinterberg wrote a manifesto for a purist film movement called Dogme 95. Participating directors took what the group dubbed the Vow of Chastity, which bound them to a list of tenets that, among other things, forbade the use of any props or effects not natural to the film's setting in order to achieve a straightforward form of narrative-based realism.
Trier wrote and directed 'Breaking the Waves' a story about an unconventional couple who breaks the stereotype of marriage. The plot of the movie revolves around a woman, who is asked by her husband to have intimate relations with other men, when he is left immobilized after an accident.
Lars landed into trouble because of an interview he gave to a journalist. When 'Melancholia' was premiered at Cannes, a journalist questioned him about his German roots. Since Trier had recently discovered that his father wasn't a Jew, he jokingly commented that he sympathized with Hitler.
This caused a stir in the media and festival decided to ban him for one year. After constant apologies from the director and also his actors the festival lifted the ban and his films were welcomed once again.