The reactions to Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist are reaching a level of hysteria rarely witnessed coming out of the festival.¬† There is so much hubub, in fact, that EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum believes it’s just Von Trier bringing his otherwise obscure film into the spotlight: The movie looks almost tauntingly great, of course, with von Trier’s longtime collaborator (and Slumdog Millionaire Oscar winner) Anthony Dod Mantle as cinematographer. So it’s one good-looking, publicity-grabbing provocation, with an overlay of pseudo-Christian allegory thrown in to deflect a reasonable person’s accusations of misogyny. As a kicker, the director dedicates the picture to the memory of the great Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky — a final flip of the bird to the Cannes audience. And oh, how our audience took the bait! But then, there’s always at least one film at this outsized, obstreperous, one-of-a-kind film festival each year that’s pre-determined to freak out the press-pass-wearing populace. Consider the crowd (including the belligerent European gent who nearly knocked me over shoving to get through the gate) happily, perfunctorily scandalized. And Ebert says: Whether this is a bad, good or great film is entirely beside the point. It is an audacious spit in the eye of society. It says we harbor an undreamed-of capacity for evil. It transforms a psychological treatment into torture undreamed of in the dungeons of history. Torturers might have been capable of such actions, but they would have lacked the imagination. Von Trier is not so much making a film about violence as making a film to inflict violence upon us, perhaps as a salutary experience. It’s been reported that he suffered from depression during and after the film. You can tell. This is the most despairing film I’ve ever have seen. Kinda makes you want to see it, doesn’t it?