Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Beyond Temptation

A friend of mine, while under immense emotional strain, said recently,
"I have nothing left to give."

Perhaps, to rewrite those words, I would say that the person believes that within the self there remains 'nothing good left to give'.  Surely an emotionally drained, even depressed person can give something to others, but it just so happens that this giving would not be of much benefit to the receivers.

 My dear and honorable friend, Nate Bell, told me outright that,  
"Antichrist is a worthless film." 

Other movie-fiends that I associate with have praised the film -- and from what I gather they tend to praise it because 'it stays with you'.  Yes, yes it does.

Roger Ebert on his blog
ended his review of the film this way,
"So it is a documentary in one way. What does it document? The courage of the actors, for one thing. The realization of von Trier's images, for another. And on the personal level, our fear that evil does exist in the world, that our fellow men are capable of limitless cruelty, and that it might lead, as it does in the film, to the obliteration of human hope. The third stage is Despair."

My pal Andrew Bowcock, over at the alternative chronicle, put "Antichrist" at #4 on his 'top 10 films of 2009' list.
He states,
"Whether or not it all works, von Trier’s Antichrist might be one of the most horrifying things you will ever witness, and will stick with you…no matter who you are.  If this wasn’t art (and I didn’t believe in it), I would say the man should be locked up." 

Those are what others have thought.  I'm holding out... waiting as long as possible not to state an opinion --- sigh --- here it is, I guess... I think that people can reach places where they are devastatingly depressed.  Those places are wholly isolating, as depression always is.  And so as a form of coping, or perhaps as medication, a creative may extend his hand to let others in; to invite us into his misery.  This is what Lars von Trier has done; he has created a painful place to reside.

Most insidiously, von Trier, right before the closing credits, dedicates his film to Andrei Tarkovsky.  Tarkovsky might be the most symbolically spiritual and Christian filmmaker of the 20th century.  Matching the dedication to the title, I see von Trier pitting himself against the famous Russian.  Perhaps "Antichrist" is the 'AntiTarkovsky'.  

Still, there is much to analyze in "Antichrist".  There is much left to investigate and decipher.

As for me, I will not analyze.  I will not investigate.  I will not decipher. 

This place that Lars von Trier has created; it is not somewhere I wish to stay.

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