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Entertainment behind the scenes

Antichrist – diabolical or just different?

May 19, 2009

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.cannes3

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.


Lars always makes provocative films and I love Gainsbourg. But this one does sound difficult to watch.


Posted by David Engel | Report as abusive

I am surprised by the anti-intellectualism of the journalists. Asking an artist why he made something?Beckett repeatedly refused to say what his plays are about so did Bunuel about his films. Lars Von Trier is one of the greatest living filmmakers because he has the guts to go against the habitual cinema-going and demands from the spectator to be productive and not just a consumer.


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