Friday, August 28, 2009


I really dislike horror films and consequently haven’t seen many, so you can say that my genre knowledge is limited if not very basic. But today I’m asking what the horror genre really is as I cannot understand how a movie like the Antichrist is labeled as horror. But then I also cannot understand why is labeled as thriller. For me this is a drama. A sometimes shocking and violent drama, yes; but in my opinion there is nothing thrilling or horror related in this film.

The films tells a so common story about parents grief when their only child dies. But the mastery of Lars von Trier found a way to tell the story in the most unexpected, non-imaginable way while using the most outstanding visuals I have ever seen in any of his movies and in many other films by great cinema masters. The movie visually is stunning with compositions that absolutely take your breath away. Visuals come with extraordinary music and sounds that absolutely complement this unbelievable complete cinematic experience.

With all the controversy around the movie after the Cannes premiere it was impossible not to notice and become aware of the particular scenes with controversy. But me not wishing to be spoiled by any kind of clues heard and read headlines trying not to be contaminated. Still I knew about the “decapitation” of no head but of the sexual organ. The scene in the screen was not more than a few seconds and was nothing special, but the pain I felt was excruciating. Is this horror? Not for me. It was awfully painful like if it was done to me. But I wanted to see more, to continue watching the mesmerizing visuals and the quite brainy story of grief, pain, and despair as von Trier calls his first, second and third chapters.

When Lars von Trier got the idea and wrote the script he was suffering his first ever depression.

" Il y a deux ans j'ai fait une dépression. Ca a été une nouvelle expérience pour moi. Tout, absolument tout, me paraissait sans importance, futile. Je ne pouvais pas travailler. Six mois plus tard, juste pour m'entrainer, j'ai écrit un scénario. C'était une sorte de thérapie, mais aussi une recherche, un test pour voir si je pouvais encore faire un film. "

I do not know about you but I do believe that when you feel the worst is when you produce your best. Again, Trier found a way to tell an explored in many ways story in a totally different way and to me that’s outstanding.

Is the storytelling sexually graphic? Yes it is; but I’m no prude and remember that I do not like pornography at all; still I can take everything sexually graphic that I saw in this movie.

Is the storytelling violent? Yes it is; but I have seen more violent movies and seen those movies where violence is gratuitous. Here violence has a sense and is crucial to the story.

Today I’m still thinking about some issues in the movie and wish I could find only one explanation to many things that happen in the story. But I know that I will find as many explanations as I’m willing to find. That is why I call the story brainy and consequently, I know that viewers will find in the story whatever they wish to see. Still for von Trier the film is about “nature”.

"Une fois encore, le sujet était " la nature " mais d'une façon différente, plus directe qu'auparavant. Une façon plus personnelle. Le film ne contient aucun code moral particulier et possède seulement ce que d'aucuns appelleraient " le strict minimum " en termes d'intrigue. "

By the way I totally avoided reading non-European reviews and viewers comments as I’m aware that due to moral codes and likes/dislikes in films the tone and manner was going to be not positive. If you want to read about this film I strongly suggest you do the same.

I’m not a huge fan of the Danish “enfant terrible” and I admit that I didn’t enjoyed much some of his films (like Dogville); but Antichrist is absolutely outstanding from the storytelling pov, the production values and mostly because of the most amazing visuals even when telling hard to watch scenes. There are many visually stunning moments but the opening, the Prologue, really blows your mind and takes your breath away; it does it so much that you hardly pay much attention to what happens and now I realize that the storytelling really starts when She and He are having intense sex and She is looking to the camera.

Never before have I seen Willem Dafoe performing like this and yes I have seen Charlotte Gainsbourg in many excellent performances but this 2009 Cannes honored with the Best Actress award is one of her best. The entire film is a pas de deux between the two actors and is an amazing to watch display of acting excellence.

I strongly recommend this film that I know I will watch again and absolutely is a Must Be Part of my Collection when the DVD becomes available. Next time I will try not to get lost in the visuals and pay more attention to the story that still today puzzles me in a few points. Will I close my eyes to avoid feeling the excruciating pain in the infamous scene? Yes I will.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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