Part of me is clamoring to pour rambles and words onto this keyboard right now, all directed toward Lars von Trier‘s Antichrist, which I experienced yesterday. The post-game personal consensus keeps teetering from positively excited to disgusted and underwhelmed. So much has been written and said about Antichrist already that it was inevitable I’d enter the arena with too-high expectations, despite my not-so-effortless attempts to curb the enthusiasm. The plan, to let the film sink into me on its own terms, not through the premeditated suggestions of critics and cyber talking-heads. And, for the most part, that’s what happened. Antichrist absolutely requires multiple viewings before any firm, resolute opinion can be formed; after one measly sit-through, I can’t imagine anybody churning a definitive perception. The flick is just too wide-spreading in its bizarre ideals and layered themes (provocative and muddled) to allow impulse critiquing.
I still may try to jot thoughts down later today. It’s unavoidable, though, that I’ll successfully flesh the film out. Von Trier has made an adult horror stomach-dropper that any weak-gutted individual would never want to watch again. I, for one, can’t wait to revisit the damn thing. Recommend to some of my film-forward pals; snatch up on DVD and creep out my unaware accomplices. There’s something to be said for a film that has the grossness enough to fling my hands in front of my eyes—–that happened when I saw Inside in the same exact locale, actually (Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater). Over two years later, a similar near-vomit feeling set in as Antichrist‘s female lead Charlotte Gainsbourg took a pair of rusty scissors to her…..well, I’ll save that one for surprise’s sake. Just know that the woman sitting next to me veered her eyes downward while closed from that scene onward, shaking her head in disgust.
I must meet The Three Beggars again, especially that stillborn deer-fetus. I need to laugh at the ballsy absurdity of that fox speaking in droned slow-mo. The thick level of women-fearing and women-attacking subtext warrants a much closer look; as presented by Denmark’s self-coined “greatest film director in the world,” I’m not sure whether its actual misogyny or a balanced assault on both genders.
My sadist side is itching to allow Antichrist the pleasure of pummeling me yet again. I just wish I knew at this point whether I liked it or not.
—-After the screening, Von Trier addressed the New York audience via video feed, fielding questions and voicing this intriguing sentiment, a notion that could eventually encapsulate why Antichrist becomes a beloved film in my collection: “[Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is] a classic, but not because it was scary. In horror films, the scary things are not what I remember. I remember a style or a mood. I didn’t find The Shining very scary, I must say. But today, I’m rather involved with it. I think that, as with all other films, it has to do with a personality that you feel in it as you watch what happens in it.” (Reported by Movieline)
Though I do think The Shining is one of the scarier films I’ve seen in my lifetime, I can’t disagree with that sentiment. Likewise for Norman Bates’s showcase.
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