Tuesday July 21st 2009

Yesterday I saw Lars von Trier’s Antichrist.
I’m not sure I can ever be shocked by a movie again.

I saw it at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden, where they have bean bag chairs in the screening room. If you know anything about the content of Antichrist, you’ll understand why such seating seemed strangely perverse.

Are you really going to appreciate the benefits of cushioned chairs while watching Charlotte Gainsbourg mutilate her own lower portions in slow-motion close-up?

Anyway, here’s the skinny on the year’s most controversial film:

Is it shocking?
Yes. Absolutely. To the extent that even the snobby, above-it-all film critics who laughed ironically (and loudly) at the gratuitous nudity, were silenced by the more horrific scenes towards the end. It’s a mark of how relentlessly provocative the film is that the aforementioned scene of self-multilation isn’t even in the chapter of the movie titled ‘Gynocide’.

It’s incredible really that the BBFC, which only ten years ago was cutting a few seconds of punching out of Fight Club, is now ready to pass this uncut at 18. Even if it has got one of the most Daily-Mail-unfriendly warnings they’ve ever issued:

Rated 18 for strong real sex, bloody violence and self-mutilation.

Bring the whole family.

Does the fact that it’s shocking make it worth seeing?
In some ways, yes. It is a cinematic experience that you will never forget. It is causing mass debate. Such things are not as easy to provoke as certain journalists seem to think. A dozen torture porn sequels and a copy of Manhunt 2 could never even hope to create such an impact on their audience. It is a very well made film.

Should it be banned?
No. Even if ‘journalist’ (cum fucking idiot) Christopher Hart, who admits that he hasn’t seen the film, thinks so.

Is it misogynistic?
Yes and no.

For more information, see a million feminist POVs on the Guardian Film Blog.

Is it good?
Fuck knows.

But Gainsbourg and Dafoe deserve every award going.