Tantalizing movie provokes shocking reactions

“A couple of days ago, I viewed what may be the most disturbingly harrowing film I have ever seen, and this is coming from someone with an insatiable taste for demented, over-the-top cinema. When I wasn’t covering my eyes in horror, I was fidgeting out of pure disgust.”

A couple of days ago, I viewed what may be the most disturbingly harrowing film I have ever seen, and this is coming from someone with an insatiable taste for demented, over-the-top cinema.

When I wasn’t covering my eyes in horror, I was fidgeting out of pure disgust.

I didn’t know whether to be intrigued, mortified or both.

Antichrist, directed by Danish Lars Von Trier, is hands down the most controversial film of the year.

When it debuted at Cannes, audiences walked out of the screening of the movie due to its extremely graphic scenes, and the people who chose to stay angrily booed the film at its conclusion.

Also, in almost every review of the film, critics, regardless of whether they liked or disliked the movie, spewed passionately about the shocking nature of the film, commenting upon its outrageous imagery and complex symbolism.

Starring Willem Dafoe, best known for his turn as the Green Goblin in the first Spider-Man movie, and Charlotte Gainsbourg, the daughter of British actress Jane Birkin and French musician Serge Gainsbourg, Antichrist tells the story of a married couple who are grieving the loss of their only child.

In order to cope, the two, who are simply named He and She, retreat to their secluded cabin in the forest, symbolically called Eden.

The film opens in a stunning slow-motion which contrasts the couple having sex in the shower and their toddler son escaping from his crib in another room.

The child wanders around, and eventually pulls up a chair to a table and tragically falls to his death from a high window, setting the tone for the rest of the movie.

Unable to handle the death of her son, Gainsbourg’s character is hospitalized and is eventually put under the care of her husband, who is a therapist.

He takes her to their wooded refuge in order to ease her pain and also to make her face her fears.

Slowly, more and more is revealed about her, including the thesis she has been working on which focuses on witches and violence toward women.

Also the fact that she constantly put her son’s shoes on the wrong feet, and it becomes evident that she is more than a bit unhinged.

Eventually, She goes completely insane and attacks her husband, gruesomely attaching a grindstone to his leg so he cannot abandon her.

The final part of the film contains the most obscene, grim imagery, including squirm-inducing genital mutilation.

Part snuff, part art-house, Antichrist is not a movie for everyone.

The film is, however, extremely thought-provoking and offers truckloads of cryptic symbolism that I still cannot figure out and is the perfect film for anyone with a verve for provocative, cerebral cinema.