Monday, November 09, 2009

Antichrist

I saw Lars von Trier's "Antichrist" yesterday. For those who haven't heard, the basic plot (such as it is) is that, after the death of their infant son, Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourgh retreat to their cabin in the woods and proceed to inflict all sorts of emotional and physical trauma upon each other.

The movie debuted at Cannes about half a year ago. It was booed lustily at its initial screening and decried as a pretentious mess. There were also accusations of misogyny. In the film, Gainsbourgh is ostensibly less able to deal with her grief than Dafoe, a therapist, who appears to be the supposed voice of male reason. Gainsbourgh eventually comes completely unglued, and von Trier appears to be suggesting that unrestrained female sexuality is / can be a source of madness, or maybe even "evil." So critics were like, "time out! that shit's str8 misogynistic!"

Anyway, i saw it yesterday with about 8 other intrepid provincials. It's not mindblowing, but it is challenging and thought-provoking in the sense that, unlike, say, "The Informant," I felt like I had to sit down and talk about it over coffee afterward. It's also got some pretty unforgettable imagery--some of beautiful, some of it just plain disturbing, some of it beautiful and disturbing.

The accusations of misogyny are at least partly justified, I'd say. But so what? Von Trier was in the middle of a black depression during filming (see this avclub interview with Dafoe, at http://www.avclub.com/articles/willem-dafoe,34256/), and depression is oftentimes just anger turned inward. It's a rare occurrence for a director to be honest and courageous enough to show an audience his undiluted truth, however ugly and offensive, during a particularly troubled time. And in any event, von Trier is a known provocateur, so he could just be f_cking around.

I'd say go see it. I'd like to hear what you guys think. ::singsong voice:: It's got a talking fox and a clitoridectomy...

4 Comments:

Blogger hostage crisis said...

btw, there's no way antichrist could be as blithely offensive as this: http://www.apple.com/trailers/wb/theblindside/

11/09/2009 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this one is on my shortlist, and you've just moved it up a bit. bad lieutenant: port of call new orleans opens in selected theatres in 2 weeks. can't wait.
mcsquared

11/10/2009 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah the commercial for blindside are nauseating. which is too bad because it's a good book. though i doubt sandra bullock will spend much time discussing the evolution of the left tackle position.

pc

11/11/2009 10:28 AM  
Blogger hostage crisis said...

@mcsquared, i can barely contain my excitement for BL:POCNO

11/11/2009 2:04 PM  

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