Antichrist

November 29, 2014

 

I enjoy Lars von Trier chiefly because he knows how to be experimental with film. He is audacious yet it is with the intent to tell a story, to be metaphorical versus sheer visceral. So yes, his images bend toward novelty, but it is in the larger, grander composition of conveying a meaningful symbol that he places his motion pictures within that makes him a gem of a filmmaker.

 

What I see with Antichrist is a reminiscence of Eyes Wide Shut. This is my reading, I should add, as Eyes Wide Shut is my favorite film of all time because it communicates to a male mind the identical carnal nature of a woman as with a man, which is beyond culturally stigmatized even in this age of skank. This stigma is not the central issue addressed by Eyes Wide Shut; the awakening of the male mind of the fact his counterpart is as much an animal as he is what we see in that masterpiece. Here, however, the sin of lust is center stage.

 

This must have been the accomplishment of a Christian filmmaker, for only in such a culture is a natural drive so disdained. The woman in the film is beyond ashamed of her sexual needs and cravings. And this is even before the prologue begins. The catalyst of the entire film is in the death of her child while she is having sex, yet she came to appreciate the treatment of women as witches in contrast to her thesis which was supposed to examine and contradict this misogyny. It must have been a swift realization that was paired with her innate shame or guilt for being. And we only find in the Christian culture this sense of guilt for the nature of one’s existence.

 

The mysticism employed by von Trier in the film works to disenchant the idea of nature as beautiful or even good, but that it ultimately is “Satan’s garden”. Calling the sacred woods where the plot takes place Eden is almost a cliché, but nevertheless, it helps the audience to understand how a Christian views his body and how a Christian views creation in itself. This, therefore, cynical impression is completely Christian and is the fundamental inconsistency with the culture’s worldview that it can never recover from. It is supplemented by the idea of an afterlife, but when the concentration of human action becomes diverted toward this life, it is understandable why the culture is dying.

 

Grade: A-

 

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