Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Return of the Repressed

My old Boston Phoenix collegaue David Edelstein on Lars Von Trier's latest:

Should you see Antichrist? It’s good for a few bad laughs, but you have to be up for a castration, a clitoridectomy, and a lot of symbolism. You have to be up for watching Dafoe and Gainsbourg—the latest in a line of masochistic stars to submit to this high priest of cinema and film-festival darling—humiliate themselves. Von Trier has said he wanted to make a genre horror picture, but he couldn’t even come up with a decent metaphor: The climax is out of a Grade C hack-’em-up with people chasing each other through the woods with axes and knives. David Cronenberg explored a similar theme in The Brood, in which a male psychiatrist’s est-like exhortation to a woman to “go all the way through” her trauma produces not inner peace but deformed psychotic babies that hammer people she doesn’t like to death. Now, that’s entertainment!


Tulkinghorn said...

Most movies are not as good as The Brood.

Sounds to me like Von Trier succeeded in doing what he wanted to: making an unwatchable movie based on extreme psychological and physical horror and sadism.

There's an amusing look at the reception of the movie at the link below. Getting a crowd of genre-savvy Austin types to yell out your catch-phrase isn't bad....

Jeered at the Cannes Film Festival, the purported art film became a favorite of young genre-film aficionados at the horror-heavy Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. (They can be viewed on YouTube bellowing the line from the film that's become its trademark: "Chaos reigns.")

Joe Morgenstern liked it a lot more than the dull Edelstein:

Anthony Dod Mantle, the cinematographer who shot "Slumdog Millionaire," has created a succession of somber images (in delicately controlled black-and-white) that refuse to loosen their grip on my memory. By turns repellent, powerful and ludicrous, "Antichrist" piles horror on horror with pitiless passion.

Christian Lindke said...

It appears that the Grand Guignol, and its appeals, are now questioned by those among the literati. Now that the masses have demonstrated their own love for the viewing of torture and dismay, critics who once adored the grotesque must shun what was once the highest of art.

If only the masses would fall in love with "Piss Christ," then it will be swiftly abandoned to the slaughter bench of history.