Author Topic: Antichrist  (Read 23439 times)

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SiliasRuby

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Re: Antichrist
« Reply #105 on: October 25, 2009, 02:42:04 PM »
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This film is burned into my brain and I wish it wasn't. It puts shame to those who think they can watch any horror film and not be disgusted or sickened by it. It challenges you in the worst way. I passed out during 10 seconds of the film and came to at the most debilitating scene. I almost threw up at one moment and felt emotionally sick afterwards. Glad I went right into the line for 'rocky horror' right after and that gave me enough time to digest it fully before 'rocky horror' tried its damnedest to wash those heart quenching sequences out of my brain, but alas it didn't work. The talking fox was the highlight for me. In short, this scared the living shit out of me and I will have nightmares for the first time since I watched 'Eraserhead' for the first time. Man, its so uncomfortably wrong in every wonderful way.
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modage

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Re: Antichrist
« Reply #106 on: October 25, 2009, 08:09:36 PM »
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Antichrist (2009)

I'll say that this film is not my cup of tea, but also ask what the hell it was actually about?  The film is beautifully shot, the actors are commited, there are a few scenes of atmospheric creepiness and brutal violence but mostly a lot of "What the hell is going on here?"  Neither of the 2 characters does anything that even reminds me of how real people would behave so it's hard to engage in the film as anything other than an exercise.  And anyone who thinks the violence here is any less gratuitous than Saw or Hostel is kidding themselves.
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SiliasRuby

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Re: Antichrist
« Reply #107 on: October 25, 2009, 08:32:22 PM »
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I don't think it is really a horror film. Well, not in the true sense of the word its not. Concerning the 'what the hell is going on' question I think the film could be looked at as a exercise in 'how horrible can we go with this?' As far as the performances go they might be over the top and unrealistic but the intensity of the two actors and the quality of both of them makes it worth while. And in that vein, its a lot like 'The Shining'.
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Reinhold

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Re: Antichrist
« Reply #108 on: October 28, 2009, 12:04:04 AM »
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This film is burned into my brain and I wish it wasn't. It puts shame to those who think they can watch any horror film and not be disgusted or sickened by it. It challenges you in the worst way. I passed out during 10 seconds of the film and came to at the most debilitating scene. I almost threw up at one moment and felt emotionally sick afterwards. Glad I went right into the line for 'rocky horror' right after and that gave me enough time to digest it fully before 'rocky horror' tried its damnedest to wash those heart quenching sequences out of my brain, but alas it didn't work. The talking fox was the highlight for me. In short, this scared the living shit out of me and I will have nightmares for the first time since I watched 'Eraserhead' for the first time. Man, its so uncomfortably wrong in every wonderful way.

largely agreed.

Spoilers are likely ahead

i'm having a very hard time articulating my thoughts about the film. i think it's primarily about the schizophrenic experience of being the nameless-woman-on-screen. she's subjected to some of the most sexist rhetoric cinema can muster for most of the film, both in dialogue and from the opening frames. even when da foe's character takes the critical view, it's instructive and more of the same. the film cuts her image up so much with framing and montage, and repeatedly dictates and re-dictates ways to interpret her physical behavior-- however much he's engaging with male narration here i think that the genital mutilation was kind of inevitable because the whole thing is about her fracturing/fractured self identity. in short, von trier wants to bind disgust to the spectator's sexualizing impulses both during and after the film-- if there's anything about the viewing experience that has stuck with me the most, it's how much "women" make me think of that woman, make me recall viewing this fractured, gorgeous, naked, crazy woman as an image-- how easily female characters are associated with women in real life. the idea isn't necessarily that women are innately evil-- the idea is that society has made women the image of evil and that that's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

also, i don't think the layout of the apartment would have made it possible for her to see the kid falling as was suggested in her flashback later in the film. was that her blaming herself or just a thoughtless cut? additionally, what was with the women at the end of the film? where they exiting the woods, roaming the woods, descending upon him?
Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

SiliasRuby

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Re: Antichrist
« Reply #109 on: October 28, 2009, 12:12:37 AM »
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Reinhold, you hit the nail on the head. Also, that was her blaming herself. It had nothing to do with a cut. I really don't think Lars did anything thoughtless when it comes to this film.
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ᾦɐļᵲʊʂ

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Re: Antichrist
« Reply #110 on: November 01, 2009, 09:03:13 PM »
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Spoilers are likely ahead
additionally, what was with the women at the end of the film? where they exiting the woods, roaming the woods, descending upon him?

To me, it played out like the ending of Girlfriend Experience.  (This may also contain spoilers in regards to that if you haven't seen it)

When Chelsea dumps her boyfriend to pursue some guy, he decides to go on the trip to Vegas with his guy friends.  Throughout the whole movie, the boyfriend is doing everything he can to be supportive of Chelsea, a girl wrapped up in the sex business, and it backfires on him.  In the end, he's newly single and immediately as they land in Las Vegas, they're surrounded by a flock of women in a similar field.  We don't see him do it since it's the end, but it gives the impression of a cycle.

What I love about Antichrist is the whole "Eden" as the perfect location for therapy, in a mental way but also as a physical manifestation.  The husband can't be both a therapist and a husband, and by becoming a therapist (which he thinks is the best thing for his wife) he denies her being her husband, which is what she feels she needs.  This conflict of interest severely strains the relationship, but not in a way that either person is necessarily at fault for.  They're both doing exactly what they feel is the best solution. 
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Stefen

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Re: Antichrist
« Reply #111 on: November 01, 2009, 10:04:05 PM »
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I thought it was very interesting how He couldn't decide between being a husband, a therapist, or a grieving father. All three came out at certain points during the film. The only question I have is, when he was the husband and gave in to lust, was that because man is a piece of shit?
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ᾦɐļᵲʊʂ

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Re: Antichrist
« Reply #112 on: November 02, 2009, 01:23:43 AM »
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In that case, it's a matter of yes and no.  He had a responsibility to be her objective therapist, which he tried to honor, but to see your own wife writhing in agony because you won't fuck her has got to provoke some sort of sexual action.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Antichrist
« Reply #113 on: November 17, 2009, 07:24:52 PM »
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Major Spoilers!

Love this movie! First of all, it was a joy to see LVT borrowing so heavily from Lynch. All I needed was a fast dolly-in with some whip-pans, and I would have had my three favorite filmmakers all in one movie. The shaky/blurry shots with bizarre sound design were straight out of Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire. The prologue (stunning, BTW) reminded me of The Man Who Wasn't There, to throw in a little Coen Bros. I should also point out that this can only be described as a horror film if Inland Empire is also described as a horror film.

I got addicted to the tension. Not necessarily the narrative tension, but the tension of film's arc. In other words, I knew LVT, and I knew he was up to something, but I didn't know what it was until the last scene. Speaking of which...

I thought it was obvious, but seriously, their forest hideaway is called "Eden," and the characters are credited as "He" and "She." Remember the piles of bodies that appeared in the tree roots scene, and later on the path in the epilogue? I first thought they were dead bodies, i.e. representations of gynocide, but I convinced myself otherwise. There's no blood, wounds, scarring, or anything that would suggest violence. I haven't cracked open a bible yet, but I'm pretty sure God is said to have given life to flesh, or some such thing. These could be women who have not yet been given life. When "He" eats the forbidden fruit at the very end, the women come to life, and converge toward him peacefully, as if he's the creator. This is some kind of reinterpretation of Genesis, or a new creation myth altogether.

Also recall that the Dafoe character is nailed through the leg and forced to drag a weight around. He even goes into a tomb of sorts and "rises" through the ground. Christ, anyone? (Dafoe has played the character before, after all.) We know LVT is not averse to crucifixion analogies (Dancer in the Dark).

the idea isn't necessarily that women are innately evil-- the idea is that society has made women the image of evil and that that's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Right... I think this is key. And the film is clearly feminist. Think about LVT's previous work. He's dealt with feminist issues in most of his films. He hits upon all the major feminist points in this one, even including female genital mutilation.

But you're right, I think it's mostly about how female self-hate develops. Remember that the husband eventually concluded that her greatest fear was herself (after he crossed out nature and satan). The wife's reading of the gynocide texts probably planted some seeds. The misogynist ideas she immersed herself in may have been so powerful, so loaded with the force of history, that even with her critical/academic background, she found herself unable to fight them off entirely, and obviously, she began to agree with them and become them. When her husband realizes this early on and tells her those ideas are crazy, she says, "I know, I just forget sometimes." Also important is the line she says later on as she's fully in evil woman mode: "The crying woman is a scheming woman!" Truly one of the most revealing lines of the film, as it shows how deeply she's sunk into self-hating insanity--so much, in fact, that the things she does can classify the film as "horror."

Also, let's remember that the event that brought her writing to an end was hearing the crying child, which she thought was her son. Very strange scene, almost unexplainable, but we all know it's there for a reason. I think that, under the influence of the texts, she was developing a deep suspicion of her own gender, and herself, and her own trustworthiness as a mother. This manifested first with that crying hallucination. She then started fulfilling her own "bad mother" prophecies, which I assume is why she put her son's shoes on backwards. She may be unjustly blaming herself for her son's death, but considering her self-fulling prophecy angle, we shouldn't rule out that it actually was her fault. After all, so fulfilling are her self-fulfilling prophecies that she eventually gives her husband a reason to commit gynocide himself. With the self-mutilation (among other things), she is a willing participant in her own destruction, because she eventually believes her gender should be destroyed.

As for the meaning of LVT's creation myth, I just saw the movie last night, so I don't have a totally clear conclusion. One idea, though. It could be a Noah's ark type of thing. Look at it this way: The history of misogynism, and indeed even gynocide, had obliterated the female gender to the point of existential crisis--total destruction from within and without. So deep, in fact, were the wounds that they could cause the kind of horror we see in this film, which in this worldview I assume is representative of the whole. Everything is so out of balance that a new beginning is required, so the female gender is recreated.
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Re: Antichrist
« Reply #114 on: November 19, 2009, 09:00:47 PM »
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First of all, bravo everyone for some great discussion on this film. I have to say that not a lot crossed my mind while I was watching it, I viewed it less academically and more like a take on the horror genre, like modage. But obviously, there's more to it, as everyone has pointed out. In a way, this film seems similar to Manderlay, in the parallel between the slave enslaving him/herself and a woman fulfilling misogyny. He constructs these films like an anti-abortion commercial that's actually pro-abortion, backwards yet forwards. Ironic, I guess.

I thought the film was pretty well shot, one of the first films on video that eventually looked video that didn't bother me. Willem Dafoe, however, really sucked. I thought he was pretty awful in this role, just way too phony. Charlotte Gainsborough deserves every award on the planet, if only because I've seen more of her body than my own.

The music and chalk slates were fucking great. Loved the Three Beggars a lot. Not my favorite von Trier.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Antichrist
« Reply #115 on: November 19, 2009, 10:34:48 PM »
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In a way, this film seems similar to Manderlay, in the parallel between the slave enslaving him/herself and a woman fulfilling misogyny.

Thanks for pointing that out... I think that has been nagging at me, and I was halfway to realizing it.

Willem Dafoe, however, really sucked. I thought he was pretty awful in this role, just way too phony.

I think his character has a distant/disconnected/patronizing quality, and I think it works for the movie. I suppose the character is phony in his role as a husband, because he's not really a husband anymore, but I don't think Dafoe failed at acting the role. Not a masterful performance or anything, but I think whatever is on the screen is probably exactly what LVT wanted from him. But yeah, Gainsborough was something else.
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Stefen

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Re: Antichrist
« Reply #116 on: November 19, 2009, 11:49:31 PM »
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good review, man. yeah, Gainsbourg was really great, but I didn't find Willem phony, but I can see how others would.                                                                                         when I watch it again, i'm going to try and view it as a genre specific horror film. maybe then i'll not hate the over the top violent parts as much. I viewed it as an art film when i initially viewed it, and that may be why I found the over the top parts pretentious and unecessary.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Antichrist
« Reply #117 on: November 19, 2009, 11:58:19 PM »
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I don't know... I'm not convinced the violence is there for horror genre effect. If we believe that those events are in any way meaningful, isn't the graphicness just an expression of that meaning? For example, if Dafoe's character really is a christ figure, his suffering is definitely meaningful. His wife's self-mutilation is also meaningful.
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Stefen

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Re: Antichrist
« Reply #118 on: November 20, 2009, 01:33:36 AM »
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My beef isn't with the symbolism. That's all great, and as a whole, the film is in my top 5 of the year, but my beef is the way it's all presented. There really isn't any need for some of the shots. A penis ejaculating blood is a bit unnecessary. You can allude to everything it showed without actually showing it.
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picolas

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Re: Antichrist
« Reply #119 on: November 20, 2009, 01:58:45 AM »
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nothing is really "necessary" though. it's an expression of some guy's vision. that's what film is. and how are you going to allude to blood ejaculation without showing it? and why wouldn't you just show it?

 

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