Antichrist (2009)

directed by Lars Von Trier
with: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsburg

Anyone who has seen a Von Trier film knows that he is a grand provocateur. His films have touched the weakest fibers of the human condition and at the same time have managed to create irresistible atmospheres that are hard to ignore and easy to appreciate. I admire Von Trier for being such a risk taker and an artist with great freedom and support. In Antichrist, Gainsbourg and Dafoe deliver good and impressive roles for the sake of art. They truly do what I thought was unimaginable in cinema.

The film is an immensely artful experience, something like I've never seen before. I can't think of another major filmmaker that has taken such a risky leap into creating something that some audiences wouldn't ever bare. In France, it got terrible ratings and Von Trier was described as merde. In the US, he is often considered Anti-American. Like I said, he is an authentic provocateur.

But the film goes beyond it's shock values. The cinematography is beautiful and the pace and rhythm are incredibly breathtaking. It never gets boring. It never gets pretentious. It is full of allegories that summarize a lot ideas and curiosities about religion, fear, human relationships and psychology, that Von Trier likes to explore.

I think that what Antichrist tries to accomplish is to represent a world of evil in nature and sinful in essence, where, as the fox in the movie says, "chaos reigns" and fear too. In the film, evil and chaos reign in such an irresistible and perfect way. Sometimes I even felt guilty for being so appealed by such tremendously strong and nightmarish imagery. We see explicit and unexpected sex and masturbation (that never feel erotic, but primal and visceral), a fox eating his insides, a reindeer giving birth to a dead fetus, a crow that is killed with a rock more than once, genital mutilation and marital fights.

The opening and ending sequences in black and white, slow motion and with grandiose music have got to be highly appreciated by anyone who claims to appreciate film. The imagery in the film has been permanently tattooed on my brain, not in a traumatizing way, but in the way I would remember a Francis Bacon painting: beautifully grotesque. If a film can do that, it deserves proper recognition and serious reconsideration for its achievements. Von Trier has perversely illuminated my eyes. When I saw this movie, I was the only one present in the movie theater. I don't know if this means anything but I didn't get to see other people's reactions.

Antichrist is about the accidental death of a baby and how a couple deals with it.

ps. The film is dedicated to Andrei Tarkovsky.

Must see (with extreme caution).
Rating: 9/10


Deibid said...

Que pedo bob, me latió bastante tu reseña man a ver cuando sale por aquí la movie, te mando un abrazo y nos vemos en diciembre cuando regreses.

Anonymous said...

Based on the trailer I was extremely excited to see this film. I watched the trailer over and over waiting in eager anticipation for it's release. As it turns out I walked out of the theater feeling underwhelmed.

My favorite part by far is the cinematography. Every shot looked like a painting... the color, lighting and overall aesthetic of the film is amazing. The best I have seen in a while.

My main problems the film lied within the fact that Von Trier showed absolutely no self-restraint when it came to this movie. It seemed like whatever popped into his head at the time was packed into the film without second thought or any sort of revision. The only thing that bothers me about the more controversial scenes is that I felt like they were put there for pure shock value, and in my opinion this cheapens what could have been an excellent movie.

As for audience reactions... A girl threw up a few minutes after the genital mutilation scene. Also, I'm pretty positive that Von Trier did not intend for this film to be a comedy but there were quite a few times in which the audience erupted in laughter (talking fox).

But, to each his own.


Bob Clapes said...

Que bueno que te gusto, espero que si salga en mexico porque pienso que si vale la pena por lo menos intentar verla, y claro que nos vemos en diciembre, ya no falta mucho.

Although Von Trier said he wasn't completely happy about the film's style,(what can we expect from an extremely depressed filmmaker?)I agree with you, the cinematography is probably its best element.

The shocking scenes of course were included to cause controversy (as they are not truly necessary), but (probably mislead by its visually appealing aesthetics) I thought it was done in such a way that I wasn't necessarily repulsed by it. I understand how a lot of people can be, and throw up. I don't really understand why people laugh at the "chaos reigns" line, probably out of nervousness or confusion.

Von Trier claimed he didn't have as much control of the film as he would have liked, so maybe he could even take it farther, which would be crazy to imagine. His films have always alarmed audiences. The ones I've seen sort of depress me and make me lose hope in humanity for a few hours or days, but after thinking about them, I always feel glad I saw them and end up admiring them.

I just think that it's great to see a major director and well-known actors take this risk. This film is about fear, so its good to see it being indulged to the audience. In the end, it's a cinematic experience worth living.