Tuesday, January 11, 2011

AntiChrist: or why you should never marry a therapist, especially if he is Willem Dafoe

Alright, it has taken me 24 hours, one totally fucked up nightmare involving Willem Dafoe's pubic hair, and a bottle of wine to write about AntiChrist but I am finally ready.  Let me start by sharing one of my favorite quotes about this film, courtesy of Alonso Duralde from Movieline: The thought that anyone is dying to sit through Lars von Trier’s irritating art-wank Antichrist (now available from The Criterion Collection) for a second time, much less in Blu-Ray, frankly boggles the mind.

I had many reasons to look forward to watching AntiChrist.  Alright, I had two reasons.  One, I adore Charlotte Gainsbourg.  I think she is the absolute bee's knees.  Two, I had heard it was absolutely crazy and fucked up and no one loves crazy and fucked up more than me (hence my obsession with Toddlers and Tiaras.)  What I was not prepared for was a Woody Allen film from hell and 100% more Willem Dafoe pubic hair than I had signed up for.  I am finding it difficult to review this film in a normal fashion, so I am going to review it through numbered bullet points.  Trust me, this will probably make more sense than the film.
  1. Willem Dafoe's Pubic Hair:   I am a Willem Dafoe fan, despite the dumb spelling of his name.  I like his work, and between you and me, I have always found him oddly attractive.  But we see WAY TOO MUCH of him in this film.  I realize that the full frontal penetration scene in the beginning was filmed with porn stars, and the dick bashing scene at the end was a wax model, but I am pretty damn sure that when he wakes up with a dumbell through his leg and his pants down that it is 100% Dafoe pubic hair.  It was the second most disturbing thing to me in this film
  2. The Genital Mutilation Scene: The most disturbing thing to me in this film.  I had heard about this, but I had no idea it was SO GRAPHIC.  I couldn't watch it and my screams of "no fucking way" sent my husband running into my room.  I had to scream at him "Go Away!!  This is not for you!"  Apparently Charlotte Gainsbourg lobbied hard for this role.  Was it because of this scene? How many actresses get to say "I rape a man and then cut off my clit."?  Take than Natalie Portman.
  3. The Sex: There is a whole lot of graphic sex in this film, and it is totally unsexy.  Sex equals pain in this film.  Sex equals death and destruction.  This is not a film to see on a first date.

4. Women are Evil or Lars von Trier is an asshole: I do not believe this film is misogynistic.  I am taking an intellectual stand so brace yourself. I think to call it misogynistic is to miss the point.  I think it is an honest portrayal of a woman who felt undervalued and disrespected and who subsequently went bat shit crazy.  In many ways this film is similar to Black Swan.  It is an honest and frighteningly perceptive insight into a particular woman's neurosis's by a manA PARTICULAR woman, not all women.  Get a grip.

5. Intellectuals are assholes:  I subtitled this "never marry a Therapist."  And this film is proof why.  The characters played by Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourgh are over educated assholes.  I thinks this is the real point of von Trier's film.   Instead of letting his poor wife grieve over the death of their child by drinking too much and popping pills like any good American, Dafoe, the Therapist, makes her go through "fear therapy."  They fucking talk and talk and talk and then he gets his dick bashed in.  He deserved it.

6. Writing a Thesis is hard:  I pretty much lost my shit while writing my Master's Thesis much like "She" does in the film.  Luckily I did not have a boyfriend or a child while writing about 1930s Political Murals in the Bay Area.   "She" is writing about gynocide.  I wrote about American Communists. Yes, I have a Master's Degree.  Unlike most people with a Master's Degree, I am still sort of an idiot.  OK, a total idiot.  But I have yet to bash any one's dick in.

7.  Similarities with Martyrs:  AntiChrist reminded me a lot of Martyrs, in that both films are about women and women's suffering.  One film positions women as a channel to heaven while another positions women as a embodiment of hell.  Martyrs is a superior film in every regard, one that I would recommend to anyone that could stomach it.  AntiChrist, not so much.

8: AntiChrist is a comedy: And a fucking funny one at that.  Really-- a fox talks and we see Willem Dafoe's pubic hair.  As John Water's said:

"If Ingmar Bergman had committed suicide, gone to hell, and come back to earth to direct an exploitation/art film for drive-ins, [Antichrist] is the movie he would have made."

9: Damn Nature: You Scary!:  Did I like or dislike AntiChrist?  Well, in general I don't like the work of Lars von Trier.  Yet I found this film interesting and disturbing. While I was watching it I kept being reminded of my College Art History professor who was a radical Feminist that believed that Dan Brown stole the plot of the Da Vinci Code from her.  I bet her damn head would explode if she watched AntiChrist.  For that reason alone I kind of love this film.  It is such a big pretentious "Fuck You!"  It doesn't mean a thing yet it pissed a bunch of people off.  Bet you are proud von Trier.  By the way: this is a horror film: don't let anyone tell you different.  Now, enjoy this 30 seconds of Family Guy which will make a whole lot more sense once you see the film.


Cellar Door said...

Am I insane? It's Swedish Movie Night, but, but... I just can't believe this review. You may have convinced me to watch a non-Swedish movie on Swedish Movie Night. I have to at least watch the beginning of this movie (which is on Netflix instant!) because it is so unbelievable.

This is your best entry to date.

Maybe I should make sure my three year old is really asleep, first. Before I watch it... Netflix describes it as "Mindbending". Well. I guess you would agree with that!

I also somewhat like Willem Dafoe, also in spite of his dumb spelling of his name. I don't know yet how I feel about his pubic hair. And I really like Igmar Bergman, but I always assumed he'd already been to hell and back when he made all his movies.

Jen said...

My god-- did you really watch it? I apologize from the depths of my black black heart. Glad you liked the review!! I thought it was well done myself and I am super proud that I could work "Willem Dafoe's pubic hair" in there twice!!

Cellar Door said...

I'm so sorry, I really did watch it.