May 14, 2009
Lars von Trier explores his dark side
I've only actually gotten through Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark, and I barely made it out of those alive. Judging from those movies, and from what I've read about Dogville and Manderlay, he tends to start with troubled characters (usually women) who are struggling against some difficult situation, then makes some bad things happen to them, then makes other really bad things happen, then you hide under your seat until it's over.
Which is why it's not really a shock to learn that von Trier has been suffering from "severe and inexplicable depression" for the last two years, according to an interview in Variety. "Severe" I understand. But I think I can come up with one really good theory that might explain why he's been down lately. Some kind of karmic backlash against directors who make psychically agonizing movies just bit back, big time.
Anyway, he's started to cheer up, and is showing his new movie at Cannes this year. It's called Antichrist, and it's a horror movie. [official site] He was probably pretty desperate to get back to creating lots of new and horrible things to do to his characters, so it may have been therapeutic.
Here's the story: Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg are a troubled couple who retreat to their country house to try to get their lives back on track. Then some bad things happen. Then some really bad things happen and nature starts taking over and there are some sort of snarling marmots in their house and all hell breaks loose.
Here's the trailer.
It looks like there are also some beautiful shots of the two stars looking pensive and beleaguered in creepy natural settings:
Charlotte Gainsbourg notes there are lots of graphic sex scenes in the movie, whch I am going to guess means that there are also lots of violent and terrifying sex scenes, and that overall the movie is as disturbing and sick as anything he's ever done.
Von Trier says, "For me it is a very personal film. It is childish, even though it definitely is not for children to see."
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