Antichrist

Lars von Trier Antichrist promo

It’s high time Lars von Trier tried some real horror. You know, some hardcore, blood and guts-type stuff. So what if Antichrist had genital mutilation, self-cannibalizing animals and a graphically stillborn Bambi dangling halfway out his mom? Kid gloves. Or so it would seem, anyway, because von Trier’s latest cinematic venture is a “real horror movie.” Danish magazine Soundvenue recently interviewed Kristian Levring, the director who’s currently showing off The Salvation, a Danish Western starring a gunpowder-charred Mads Mikkelson. But Levring had more to speak about than just Mikkelson’s ability to ride around on horseback and shoot grizzled frontiersmen with old-timey weapons. He also mentioned a little project called Detroit. Apparently, it has been Levring’s passion project for years. And he’s spent those years pestering von Trier about how awesome it would be, until von Trier finally crumbled under the pressure. For the most accurate experience, try to imagine the following quote screamed in Danish: “I want you to stop talking about it, so I’ll write it for you instead.”

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Dancer in the Dark

If there’s anything about Lars von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 that’s shocking, it’s not the graphic, non-simulated intercourse nor the detailed story of a sex addict who we first meet nearly beaten to death and left in the street. It’s how goofy the movie is. It’s all the metaphorical parallels between nymphomania and fly fishing and all the mathematical elements, especially including those that take literal form with numbers on screen. I read nothing about the film going in and had presumed it would be darker, even depressing. Maybe some black humor as only the maniacal mind of von Trier would devise, but nothing as funny as this is. It’s more The Boss of It All than any of his other recent movies. When I mentioned the tone to someone who is only slightly familiar with von Trier’s work, she expressed surprise, admitting that she thought all of his movies were depressing. Maybe I’m crazy, but I’ve actually never found him to be depressing at all. Antichrist and Melancholia were definitely the products of someone who was experiencing a bout with depression, and Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark surely evoke a lot of tears at their ends, but they’re not depressing. Serious is more like it, though there’s also something happy in the silly final shot of the former. Anyway, the conversation and the movie inspired me to look for happy moments in von Trier’s oeuvre, where clips are available at least. Most are, understandably, located in […]

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Antichrist Fox

It’s hard to imagine a career as provocative and unrestrained as Lars von Trier’s taking a turn for even greater extremes. But with 2009’s Antichrist, that’s exactly what the Danish purveyor of human suffering accomplished, making a film that inspired massive walkouts, presumed on the surface to take seriously the notion of gender-inherent evil, and added a talking fox of doom to our cinematic language. The ambivalent reception (to put it as mildly as possible) of Antichrist at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival is best encapsulated by the two recognitions the film received: the Best Actress award for Charlotte Gainsbourg, and an “anti-award” recognizing the film as “the most misogynist movie from the self-proclaimed biggest director in the world.” While shocking and offending audiences with portrayals of suffering women is hardly new territory for von Trier, Antichrist marked a turning point. Having abandoned for the foreseeable future his “USA: Land of Opportunities” trilogy, von Trier instead turned to a series of films less connected by continued themes, and instead threaded by the director’s open approach to filmmaking itself as a therapeutic process to combat his depression. After continuing with Melancholia, this unofficial trilogy of sorts sees its third entry with the much-discussed two-part Nymphomaniac, currently rolling out over March and April in theaters and on VOD. So here is a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a director currently banned from the Cannes Film Festival.

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Luis Bunuel once claimed that he kept rocks in his pockets during the first screening of Un Chien Andalou in case the crowd didn’t like what it saw. Whether or not that’s actually true, the audience reaction was never so bad that it came to violence. Apparently cutting open an eyeball wasn’t a real biggie in the 1920s. Of course, none of that changes how ridiculously hard that short film is to watch. It’s grotesque, nauseating, and a great starting point for decades of filmmakers continuing to make audiences freak the hell out. That grand tradition was continued with a second fainting at a screening of V/H/S and it’s a tradition we’d like to celebrate with 8 movies that caused some strong physical reactions.

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Anyone who saw the disturbing things actress Charlotte Gainsbourg was willing to do in Antichrist to get director Lars von Trier’s vision up on the screen knows that she isn’t a shy woman. But it turns out we may have just explored the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how far she will go for her art. Variety is reporting that Gainsbourg is in talks, once again, to star in a von Trier film, and this one will be his look at the sexual development of a woman from birth to age fifty, called Nymphomaniac. Von Trier’s upcoming erotic epic is said to be broken up into eight chapters and will be filmed with two different cuts in mind, a more softcore version to get wider distribution, and a hardcore version that will be made, well, just because I guess. When this project was first announced, von Trier explained his approach to Entertainment Weekly by saying, “As a cultural radical I can’t make a film about the sexual evolution of a woman from zero to 50 without showing penetration. I know it’s something very European. However, that doesn’t mean it will be a porn film. It principally it is a film with a lot of sex in it and also a lot of philosophy.”

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Culture Warrior

Yesterday the Twittersphere (a place where topics are only discussed in rational proportions) was abuzz with the news that Terrence Malick’s long-awaited magnum opus Tree of Life was booed at its Cannes premiere. While the reaction to Malick’s latest will no doubt continue to be at least as divisive and polarized as his previous work has been, for many Malick fans the news of the boos only perpetuated more interest in the film, and for many Malick non-fans the boos signaled an affirmation of what they’ve long-seen as lacking in his work. (Just to clarify, there was also reported applause, counter-applause, and counter-booing at the screening.) Booing at Cannes has a long history, and can even be considered a tradition. It seems that every year some title is booed, and such a event often only creates more buzz around the film. There’s no formula for what happens to a booed film at Cannes: sometimes history proves that the booed film was ahead of its time, sometimes booing either precedes negative critical reactions that follow or reflect the film’s divisiveness during its commercial release. Booed films often win awards. If there is one aspect connecting almost all booed films at Cannes, it’s that the films are challenging. I mean challenging as a descriptor that gives no indication of quality (much like I consider the term “slow”), but films that receive boos at the festival challenge their audiences or the parameters of the medium in one way or another, for better or […]

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It started with a conversation I was having with my friend Robert about Salo. You’d be surprised how many ideas for articles arise from discussing this film. Not so many dinner plans, though. Makes sense for a film subtitled 120 Days of Sodom. Anyway, being avid film lovers, we agreed Salo was a film we were glad we had seen despite the inability to ever be able to “unwatch” it. We love film, and we love the notion we could sit through and appreciate a movie like Salo despite the graphic imagery therein. This spiraled the conversation into other films that our desensitized minds could handle, films we could observe from a film-lover or even a critical perspective even though they had imagery that could not be unseen. An hour later, we had disgusted ourselves to the point of seppuku, we went our merry separate ways, but a lingering idea was stuck in my head. Amidst all the onerous images I had conjured back into my mind from years and years of watching whatever whenever, a nugget of a question remained. It was basically this: As a film connoisseur, can you desensitize yourself for the sake of cinematic appreciation?

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Culture Warrior

Modern romance and the movies are arguably dependant on one another, as movies have a long history of affirming the idea(l) of the perfect relationship. Hollywood movies in particular have developed a mastery at the formula of bringing imperfect individuals together into perfect couplehood and framing marriage as the closure of all previous conflicts and difficulties. Many romance movies, thus, teach us what romance and couplehood are or, perhaps more dauntingly, what it should be. That romantic films are a staple in the box offices of commercial movie theaters to reparatory screenings or are marathon’d on television every Valentine’s Day is evidence of our ritual association of considering real-life romances in fictional terms. It is rare that movies, especially Hollywood, seem to do the opposite: reflect the distinction between ideal romance and the ostensible “reality” of relationships in all their complexity, grittiness, slow development, necessary problems, and (most of all) subtlety. Perhaps the most evident turns cinema makes in this direction is in the break-up movie, that rare narrative that situates itself as a disruption from the normal mode of portraying couplehood through representing its antithesis, the dissolution of a couple. The most recent example is Blue Valentine, the great Cassavetes-style, character-driven psychodrama about a couple who continue making the wrong turns and can’t make it work despite, or because, of themselves. Breakup movies from the light – (500) Days of Summer – to the heavy – Blue Valentine – often self-consciously (either by testament from the filmmaker like in […]

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This Week in Blu-ray

This Week in Blu-ray, we give ample time to the Brits. God save the Queen, and all that. It’s unavoidable though, as both Doctor Who and a completely (and gloriously) reborn Sherlock Holmes come crashing in with sets that will have you using deductive reasoning to substitute buying Blu-rays for buying food for the next seven days. We also spend time with a favorite Brit filmmaker, Edgar Wright, as he brings Scott Pilgrim to the format of champions in a way that makes us feel complete. And it’s nice to feel complete. Unless, of course, you’re feeling completely surrounded by former comedic talents in an Adam Sandler-led movie about man-children. Then perhaps complete isn’t healthy. In the end, it’s another fun week of flicks and picks, all coming to you in glorious high definition…

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Join us each week as Rob Hunter takes a look at new DVD releases and gives his highly unqualified opinion as to which titles are worth BUYing, which are better off as RENTals, and which should be AVOIDed at all costs. And remember, these listings and category placements are meant as informational conversation starters only. But you can still tell Hunter how wrong he is in the comment section below. This week once again sees a healthy number of releases worth buying and renting and only a few that should be avoided like a leprous Jehovah’s Witness. The much talked about but little seen Scott Pilgrim vs the World hits shelves today alongside Criterion’s release of Antichrist, Grown Ups, Ticked Off Trannies With Knives, and a few TV shows including the first season of the BBC’s excellent Sherlock.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Luke Mullen and Brian Salisbury stop by to dig into the problems of the MPAA, review three terrible awful no-good very bad films, and share with us 6 things they’ve seen on film that they can’t un-see. It’s incredibly effective, and you’ll be moved. Plus, we make jokes about Pepe Le Pew. En Francais.

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In what might be my favorite pairing of the entire tournament just for the sheer double feature potential, the legendary Miyazaki sees his masterpiece Spirited Away boldly represent Japan against the iconic Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier and his Antichrist. Child-like wonder and abject terror. A perfect pairing. Chaos reigned over the cult gross-out of Human Centipede and the spirit-filled animated adventure beat the lesser-known film Moolaade, but both films actually have a fight this round. Let’s see what happens.

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Despite The Netherlands already handing it to Denmark in the real World Cup, the ninth bout in Round One of the Movie World Cup sees the cult grotesqueness of The Human Centipede go head to head and ass to mouth against the oddity of Antichrist. Both have completely different followings. Who will win? The mad doctor with an ass fetish or the woman masturbating violently in the woods? Will abject horror triumph or will chaos reign?

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The good news is that Dunst just scored the leading role for an iconic director. The bad news is that he’s known for torturing his lead actresses.

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In the last month of the past decade, we put our readership through the ringer. We unleashed list after list of our favorites of the decade and the year. And if you can suffer through one more round of awesomeness, it will all be over. For now.

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Goddamn I’m sick of making lists. Thankfully this is the last one of the year for me, and even better it’s the one I find most important.

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Perhaps one of the greatest honors, yet most difficult tasks of my year is the creation of my annual top ten list. As this site’s editor in chief (or whatever title suits me this week), I get to kick-off our Year in Review every year with my picks for best of the year.

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This week on a very special Reject Radio, special guest Peter Hall from Cinematical threatens us with a pumpkin carving knife and digs into the horror flicks that rolled out randomly (in October of all months!) last week. We also talk more intelligently about Antichrist than anyone else so far.

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antichrist-vontrier

With press for his latest film Antichrist ongoing here in the US, director Lars Von Trier has been talking about his next project, a “psychological disaster movie” that appears to be coming together very quickly.

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CW-Antichrist

Don’t worry, Landon is done arguing his case for Lars von Trier’s new film, but he has a bone to pick with critics who feel entitled to spoil it simply because they don’t like a movie.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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