Thursday, June 12, 2014

Antichrist [Denmark, 2009]

Nine Things about the Movie Antichrist

1.This is the first film in director Lars von Trier’s remarkable “Depression Trilogy”. I had to watch it twice to really start unpacking it enough so that I could start writing my thoughts about it.

2. It’s not really about the Antichrist. At least, not as most people think of it.

3. The “Prologue” is one of the most gorgeously tragic and sexually explicit opening sequences in film history.

4. It’s about a therapist and his wife whose child has died. The wife is undergoing extreme grief over the loss, and her husband tries to help her by taking her to a secluded cabin in the woods. Once they get to the cabin, he starts getting visions of things like foxes eating themselves. She thinks the ground burns her feet. It just gets worse from there.

5. The cinematography is entrancing, trippy, and gorgeous. The soundtrack is surreal and disconcerting.

6. Nick is the only named character in the movie, and he’s dead five minutes into the film. The husband and wife (played by Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsborg) are never given names. In fact, every other person in the movie actually has their faces blurred out.

7. This film is an examination of many things - death, grief, internalized misogyny, the evil of human nature, and the meaninglessness of everything. It requires a lot of reflection to make sense of what’s actually going on. Von Trier does not make easy movies.

8. This movie was quite controversial when it was made because of it’s extreme sexual imagery and violence. A few scenes were filmed with porn stars taking the place of the main actors.

9. This movie is definitely not for everyone. It’s a difficult, brave, important, psychosexual nuclear bomb. It’s not a horror film, but it uses horror movie conventions to make the point that the real horror is life itself… and maybe our own souls.