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).