Saturday, 25 July 2009


Director: Lars Von Trier
Writer: Lars Von Trier
Denmark/Germany 2009

I'm going slightly off-topic reviewing Antichrist, but as the British press seem to have practically shit themselves in a spasm of outrage I reckon it's relevant enough, even if their anger seems rather quaint and thankfully impotent.

It's controversial of course, but as you might expect the grim bits are a bit of a distraction from the rest of the film, slightly unnecessary and – apart from one very shocking sequence – actually not that bad. I think people reading this blog are more likely to greet the sight of William Defoe spunking blood with hilarity than horror.

But what a gorgeous, atmospheric and downright creepy film they distract from. Dreamlike camerawork, sometimes subtly bending in LSD distortions at the edge of the screen, portrays the awesome nature of a woodland setting beautiful and terrible at the same time, hinting at a theme of chaos versus humanity and the greys imbetween that is unfortunately lost as the film descends into horror cliché, and more interestingly, some rather tacked-on and plastically controversial misogyny.

Von Trier is a director of immense talent with an unfortunate silly streak, and Antichrist is a film of these soaring highs and dullard lows. The subtle build-up when we are first introduced to the forest is filled with dread and wonder, while a talking fox elicited an audible groan in the cinema.

And the genital mutilation? One of the least interesting bits of the film, though it's pretty savvy advertising.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009


The Sun has run a piece criticising the new, liberal BBFC and its passing of Lars Von Trier's controversial new film "Antichrist" for a cinema release. It's a rather confused argument, claiming to speak for an outraged moral majority while proclaiming anti-censorship credentials in the same breath. A weird circular logic claims that as it is a "torture porn" film (a term coined by newspapers like the Sun to market horror films that has nothing to do with pornography) then the BBFCs assertion that it isn't porn can't be true. In the end, the gist of the argument seems to be that there needs to be a new certificate for films worse than your average 18. A 21 perhaps? A 40?

What's interesting here is the schism between the old, outraged tabloid press and a newspaper fully aware that a substantial part of its readership wants to see films like this, all in the same article. It's like watching them being dragged kicking and screaming into maturity right before your eyes.