Entertainment behind the scenes
Antichrist – diabolical or just different?
If Danish director Lars von Trier was out to create a stir with his movie “Antichrist”, he got what he came for in Cannes. After a charged press screening where the movie, in competition at the film festival, was jeered, laughed at and loudly booed, the reviews are in, and unsurprisingly, most of them are, well, diabolical.
Faced with a hostile question during a press conference, the director who won the Palme d’Or in Cannes with “Dancer in the Dark” in 2000, took exception, and said he did not make his film for the press sitting before him or, for that matter, for an audience at all. That only served to wind some members of the press up further, begging the question why he made the film at all.
The explanation appears to be to help von Trier get over a bout of depression. The result is a horror starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a couple who struggle to overcome the grief of losing their young son. What Gainsbourg’s increasingly deranged character does to her husband, and then to herself is hard for a family-friendly blog page to describe. Suffice it to say that many of the 1,000 people watching groaned and turned away.
Critics have attacked the film for being gratuitously violent and sexual, pretentious and misogynistic. But it also has a handful of reviewers who defended it, saying it is one of the few films in Cannes this year that dared to be different.
Just for good measure, von Trier-the-provocateur told reporters he believed he was the world’s best director. I couldn’t work out if he was joking or not.