Wednesday, May 15, 2013


While the religious right may shudder or applaud at such a title,  the reality here is that this film by Lars Von Trier is nearly entirely secular in its intent.  ANTICHRIST (2009) is a psychodrama dealing with guilt,  our true natures,  and one's general inability to fully grasp and codify emotion.  While much of the imagery is textural, ambiguous, and highly provocative,  the narrative still evolves slowly toward perilous epiphany.  The film's prologue is an absolutely gorgeous  crystalline b+w sequence that is nothing short of a slow motion ballet of sex and death,  reminding me of the beginning of David Lynch's BLUE VELVET or Orson Welles' CITIZEN CANE. The seemingly detached presentation (belied by the use of Handel's lovely aria "Lascia ch'io Pianga" or "Let Me Weep" here) of lovemaking and a child'd death hardly prepares us for what is to come. While the film's  sectional structure and Daniel Dafoe's psychologist attempt order and meaning,  there is little of that here.  Nature is random,  amoral,  and often viciously truthful like the fox that utters to Dafoe that "chaos reigns".   Daniel Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg play a nameless couple coming to grips with the death of their young son.  Gainsbourg's deliriously pained existence  and Dafoe's intellectual severity make for quite the battle of the sexes.  This duality was interpreted as misogynistic  by some critics,  but given Dafoe's symbolic descent and rebirth (from the earth,  no less) and his nature's wrath upon Gainsbourg,  there is little doubt that his primal self had become one with his wife's.  Beautiful and disturbing for sure.

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