AntiChrist Reviewed

Posted 2010-10-31 @ 00:53:41 In articles > reviews

Parable of Anti-Harmony= Discordance

 

We’re living in a time of radical social change which constantly affects and reflects the nature of society.  Does contemporary art represent the reality of society? It’s a question I had after recently watching Danish director Lars von Trier’s Antichrist.  Described as a misogynistic nightmare, this strange and obsessive story begins in the throws of ecstasy and dwindles into a nightmarish and violent end. 

The wife and husband characters (only referred to as he and she) retreat to a cabin in the woods, seeking solace after losing their child.  The beautiful and strange atmosphere of their surroundings however is often punctuated by the increasing suffering and irrational behaviours of the two main characters.  Von Trier is radical in his portrayal of such disturbing themes, filming in a strangely lyrical way with undertones of something sinister.  The performances in this film are nothing short of provocative and enduring.  Charlotte Gainsbourgh, as the wife, immerses herself into uncomfortable scenarios, growing increasingly vulnerable and completely breaking down.  Let’s just say, the film sometimes seems to act as a corruption to any sweet sense of innocence a woman might have.  William Dafoe is also at his usual best as a psychiatrist husband who thinks he knows best and who thinks he can heal his wife.  Not so when she attempts to (for lack of better words) hurt him. 

Von Trier provides us with a very intimate look into their descent.  And their situation makes you think there is no hell, no mythical burning underground world.  This is hell.  We’re the things in Dante’s painting torturing each other.  Drive us towards guilt, obsession and desperation, and you’ll discover human beings unplugged. 

Von Trier seems to revel in subversion, taking on dark themes and injecting it with his won depressing thoughts.  On an artistic note, von Trier employs the use of Alienation, a technique created by dramatist Bertolt Brecht.  Minor characters have their faces blurred out, the husband and wife are never named and each chapter (introduced as headings on chalkboards) interrupts the narrative.  Maybe von Trier uses this technique to separate us from what we think we know.  The characters lives become disrupted, just as our comfort becomes disrupted.  You initially step into the theatre prepared to see one thing and you leave thinking another...alienated from your initial thoughts.  If his angle is confrontation, then I believe he succeeds.  This film could be anti-everything we believe.

 

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