New York Magazine has more about the Lars Von Trier controversy, first describing yesterday’s Cannes press event for Antichrist:
An indication of just how deeply its detractors despise the film: Von Trier was even booed at his press conference this afternoon, which devolved into an entertaining sadomasochistic psychodrama worthy of, well, a Lars von Trier movie.
An aggrieved British journalist kicked things off by demanding that the director ‚Äúexplain and justify why you made this movie.‚Äù Von Trier replied that he owed no explanations to anyone. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs the hand of God,‚Äù he said. ‚ÄúAnd I am the best film director in the world. I‚Äôm not sure if God is the best God in the world.‚Äù The questions were by turns hostile and placatory; Von Trier responded to everything in a hilariously smug deadpan. When someone suggested that Antichrist owed less to Tarkovsky‚Äôs arty meditations than to the B-movie schlock of Dario Argento, the director answered only with the most withering look of bewilderment and disgust. ‚ÄúYou are all my guests,‚Äù he said at one point. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not the other way around.‚Äù
For the benefit of anyone who’s still unclear about what’s got audiences so riled up, NYM runs a companion piece that paints a pretty word picture describing the most horrific scenes in grisly detail. I’ll post it after the cut, but it’s cringe-inducing stuff, so fair warning.
Read on only if you want to skip lunch and cross your legs for the rest of the day!
We suppose the following could technically be considered a spoiler, though we can’t imagine anyone would want to be taken by surprise by something like this in a movie theater. Are you sure you actually want to read this? Really? Really?? Okay!
So far, no review has gone into gruesome details, though, from what we gather, here’s how it goes down, more or less: After knocking him unconscious, Gainsbourg bores a hole in Dafoe’s leg with a hand drill and bolts him to a grindstone to keep him from escaping. Then, she smashes his scrotum with some sort of blunt object (the moment of impact happens slightly below the frame). We don’t actually see his testicles become disengaged from this body, though it’s apparently implied. Next, she brings him to a climax with her hands and he ejaculates blood (yes, it’s shown). But that’s not all! Later, in an extreme closeup ‚Äî lensed by Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle! ‚Äî Gainsbourg cuts off her own clitoris with a pair of scissors.
Worst. Date Movie. Ever.
Roger Ebert calls it “the most despairing film I’ve ever have seen.” Jeffrey Wells brands it a “fartbomb.” Movieline’s David Bourgeois says it’s “the most original and thought-provoking work von Trier has done since Breaking the Waves.” Variety’s Todd McCarthy, who must’ve been seated in the same row as Wells, says the movie “cuts a big fat art-film fart.” Our favorite reaction, though, is from the Times’s Manohla “Movie Killer” Dargis, who Ebert says he heard singing “That’s Entertainment!” as she left the theater.