Posts Tagged ‘Antichrist’

Lars von Trier: “Antichrist” Q&A, 17th July ’09

July 17, 2009

Lars von Trier came to the Curzon Mayfair last night – via Skype – for a Q&A about his recent shocker “Antichrist”. For me this is LvT back in “Europa” territory as the great masturbator of the silver screen. The images are often stylized to a degree that you know he can’t really mean it. The bones of the story are well known by now: a couple (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) lose their only child and go off to a cabin called Eden to grieve and face the wife’s fears. Any sympathy for them is torpedoed in the (deliberately) risible opening sequence, a piece of slo-mo black and white gloss that harks back to perfume adverts of the early 1990s. While the couple fuck, amid picturesquely toppling bottles of water and snowflakes in the air, their son jumps out of a window in their bedroom, unnoticed by either of them.


Von Trier was on form for the Q&A, artifacting slightly in the slow DSL feed and fielding passive-aggressive ‘questions’ (‘I just want to point out that we watched your moronic film with the lights on – the blacks weren’t black, they were brown, the whites weren’t white, they were yellow, the greens…’ ‘I have to say, with this film it doesn’t matter,’) and philosophical ramblings with equal openness. But a special kind of openness.

If “Antichrist” reminded me of anything (in method at least) it was one of Stewart Home’s splatter-sex novels – Down and Out in Shoreditch and Hoxton, maybe. The technique is to play games on two different levels: to feed and test the audience’s appetite for sex and gore while also getting them to accept philosophical noodling that, if they weren’t thinking about tits and bums, they would not normally stomach. It’s easy for the oddness of the mix to pass almost unnoticed and to maintain the trick the author has to stay in trickster mode the whole time. Von Trier, like Home, is a master hoaxer who doesn’t take much seriously. In answer to the question, ‘Do you hate women?’ we got a long pause, then the reply: ‘No, I don’t think so. But that would be like asking me if I hate elephants. There are good elephants and nasty elephants. But I think I like the nasty elephants too.’

When I asked if this film was a game for him, he paused slightly longer before answering, in effect, a different question. ‘As I said, I was depressed at the time of this film and going through terrible anxiety attacks. When you go through these you think they’re real… I think the film was a difficult experience for me.’