Monday, October 26, 2009

Antichrist: The Only Film To Make Me Squeamish While Urinating

I did it. I went and watched the film dividing critics neatly in half since its first festival premiere. Many loved it and even more despised it. Lars Von Trier probably grinned and nodded a few times. I think Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg were happy enough with things. And then there was me. I beat "Antichrist."

I tried writing a review before I'd finished analyzing what I had seen. This review shows me at my more earnest, after feeling completely wrecked for hours. 1:40AM 10/27/09

The film left me shaken not from the graphic imagery but from the characters' capacity for evil and the consequence of light manipulation. It's making me feel unsafe and insecure inside my own apartment; it potentially made me feel vulnerable in my very life. I didn't feel this way immediately. The film takes what I already settled with and makes different scenes pop out at me with brutal force they didn't carry when I first took them in. 

My father has repeatedly told me if his very own mother jumped out at him wearing a mask of the demon faced girl in "The Exorcist," and he knew for absolute sure it was his mother, he'd punch her in the face. He loves his mother. Right now "Antichrist" is jumping out at me, and I have no way to retaliate but to tell myself "it was only a movie." 

I worry critics who lashed out and scorned "Antichrist" looked at the plot and the less than pleasant visuals alone. What needs to be appreciated is the discomfort it creates inside the actors' every line and movement, in hand with the straight up astonishing cinematography. The film isn't purely exploitation and mutilation, it is a tempest; an emotional epic. "Antichrist" is haunting me and I recommend it haunt you, too.

 - Eric T. Voigt

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