A couple lose their young son when he falls out of a window while they are having sex in another room. The mother's grief consigns her to hospital, but her therapist husband brings her home intent on treating her depression himself. To confront her fears they go to stay at their remote cabin in the woods, "Eden", where something untold happened the previous summer. Told in four chapters with a prologue and epilogue, the film details acts of lustful cruelty as the man and woman unfold the darker side of nature outside and within. Written by
Peter Brandt Nielsen
When the filming started, Lars von Trier had just left a mental hospital where he stayed for two months, receiving treatment for depression. He had not completely recovered at the time and was even unable to operate the camera as he usually does, which made him very frustrated. He repeatedly excused himself to the actors for being in the mental condition he was, but, according to him, the actors supported him and throughout production, he did not experience any grave problems, except for his own condition. See more »
In the prologue as the child is falling, the teddy bear disappears from the side shot as the child is approaching the ground. See more »
What do you think is supposed to happen in the woods?
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Within a complex tapestry of theology and symbolism Lars Von Trier's Antichrist plums the depths of the human condition taking cinema to places it has never gone nor ever wanted to go before. Following the establishing tragic accident (their son falls out of a window while they make love) He and She journey out to Eden, a remote lodge in the woods, for therapy where their lives and souls are changed forever. Far from a traditional horror film LVT gives us the darkest of psychological works that starts with shock before travelling down the spiral through grief, despair and panic ending in travesty. Gainsbourg and Defoe take us there, they carry the film on their monumental performances - Gainsbourg gives everything physically and emotionally to her role, while Defoe's character's grip on intellectualism is unrelenting. With death and depression permeating every frame of the film it has to be said that much of what is seen is stunningly beautiful - i really cant overstate the quality of the cinematography; at the same time the hauntingly evocative sound design adds that much needed 3rd dimension of pure evil that finishes off the work perfectly. It says and shows many disgusting things about humanity, but does so with such purity of vision, such artistic conviction that i found it totally irresistible. Not a film i'd want to see again in a hurry but certainly one i'm thankful i've experienced - it pushes the envelope in hitherto unforeseen ways that will probably affect film as a medium for years to come. If nothing else, i hope it helped LVT's recovery.
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