Screened as part of NZIFF 2009
Appalling many, thrilling others, outraging all, hailed as a brilliantly hellish vision, dismissed as a stunt, Lars Von Trier’s psychosexual horror film was the one that dominated the headlines from Cannes in a year not short of provocations. When French critics cried ‘merde’, Von Trier replied ‘I am the greatest director in the world.’ Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg star as a couple who retreat to a house in the woods to overcome the grief of losing their only child. Gainsbourg won the Best Actress award for her astounding performance as a woman possessed.
“Leave it to von Trier to slap a somnolent Cannes festival to life – in fact, to smack it silly… Filmed in Germany by von Trier’s longtime cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog Millionaire), Antichrist was greeted with some appreciative applause and rather more vigorous boos, and gave plenty of ammunition to both sides. Yet you can say something about the 53-year-old auteur that couldn’t be applied to everyone with films in the competition: he’s a real moviemaker, a composer of rich imagery as evocative as it is provocative, a master matador at waving a red cape in front of the most jaded viewers and getting them to charge.” — Richard and Mary Corliss, Time
“This is gonzo drama at its most feral, an instinctive and wry mashup of dreamlike images and fairy-tale logic. It touches on primal nerves while stubbornly exuding a childish petulance for conventional resolution.” — Time Out NY
“I would be lying if I didn’t admit that this impossible movie kept me hooked from start to finish.” — Manohla Dargis, NY Times