Antichrist – Women who hate men

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There is a trilogy of a Swedish writer that is very popular in The Netherlands called Millenium. The first book (and thus the film adaptation as well) is called Men who hate women. I have not read those books, or seen that movie. I saw the Lars von Trier film Antichrist. And for that film the sub title could be Women who hate men.

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Antichrist is not for the faint of heart, as the title may have suggested. It is a thriller/horror about a couple dealing with the loss of their child in a cabin in the woods. This may seem like a summary for a lame movie your parents would watch, but Von Trier makes sure that they would have quickly walked out the theater when seeing this one.

I’m one of those people who believe that when you write about a movie, or a book, you shouldn’t give away the best parts or any surprises hidden in the plot. (I hate most trailers for that matter). So you’ll just have to believe me when I say that in this movie genitals are not the most beloved part of the actors bodies.

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Next to a prologue and an epilogue, the story is divided into four chapters, ‘Grief’, ‘Pain (Chaos Reigns)’, ‘Despair (Gynocide)’ and ‘The Three Beggars’. These titles are exactly what you can expect when seeing this film. Grief, pain and despair are not only in the film, but on moments reach out and grab the spectator by his/her throat. That is why a lot of people (will) hate this film: they (will) feel attacked by its overwhelming audiovisual power and harshness.

For the most part the soundtrack consists of an industrial/noisescape. This contrast with the natural surroundings of the characters creates an interesting tension between what is seen and what is heard. At the end of the movie Von Trier dedicates this work to Andrei Tarkovsky. Wikipedia informes us that Ingmar Bergman said of him:

Tarkovsky for me is the greatest [director], the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.

And this capturing life as a reflection or a dream is what Von Trier did with Antichrist. You’re never sure what’s real, what really happened, or what you’re looking at. The colors throughout reminded me of Tarkovsky’s films as well: high contrast and a lot of purple/blue and green/yellow.

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Von Trier managed to combine the power of myths and nature, love and (in)sanity, beauty and horror in this film. Yes, I was shocked. Yes, I was terrified. Yes, I was repulsed. But at the end the things that stuck were the sheer beauty of the images, the love for Von Triers craftsmanship and the awe for him piecing together this story in such a way.

Go and see it for yourself if you want to see a very thought provoking film.

(I found the photos here.)

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