i watched this with the anticipation that it would be boring, but i was also extremely curious why its viewrs are separated into bipolarization, the loather and the lover. also, i have seen two people doing presentations on this movie in two conferences. thus, i assume i would just give a look to see whether it really has something to say or it's just another incomprehesible avant-gardist work which projects a pretentious air of pround-ness, but by actuality, just a self-indulgent work which is not meant to be understood by anyone but the author himself (lars von trier)...and it turns out to be the former.
lars von trier has a really convulted way of story-telling in his cinematic style, but my purpose here is to elucidate. therefore, i just depict the movie's story-time (the actual event in linear order..narrative time is how the story is told, the way it is presented in the movie): a woman, whose husband is psychoanalyst, has her child fall from the window and killed during lovemaking with her husband because she doesn't stop from sex to keep the infant from moving toward the window. after the tragedy, her sanity is teetering on the borderline of hysteria and she internalizes this sense of guilt with the content of the academic dissertation she was working on while the child was still alive. the dissertation is about gendercide (mass killings on women in 16th century) which is inclined to believe that the essence of woman is evil and woman-kind should be eradicated for the sake of human goodness. hence, this woman inflicted with hysteria deteriorates into raging paranoia while her psychoanalyst husband is striving to treat her himself by bringing her into the woods which is the fountainhead of her fear. her conditions decline according to the chronic stages of gender-cide mythology: grief, pain and despair. at last, she even performs the sadomasochistic gimmicks she acquires from the researches she's made upon her husband and herself. her madness eventually becomes so repulsively compelling that her psychoanalyst husband has to slaughter her himself and torch her corpse in flaming fire just to rinse off these nightmarish memories within the forest, a.k.a. nature as the church of satan.
SPOILER: she even uses a scissor to chop off her clitoris.
the movie is a mockery toward psychoanalysis, which has been criticized as phallocentric, a discourse composed by man, a methodology to evaluate the patients through a male-centered perspective. one notable notion about perverse killings in the realm of psychoanalysis is, that man inflicts the violence in the eye of THE OTHER (any form of god, an abstract form omnipotent gazer) upon others while woman inflicts violence upon herself in the eye of the other (any bystander who witnesses her cruety against herself). "antichrist" is a parody toward this gendering notion within psychoanalysis, which is deemed by some as misogynism. the other, in the case of "antichrist", is the husband. in one scene, she requests him to hit her during sex, then the couple wind up fornicating in the wild while lots of ghastly hands and tree branches occur simultaneously to fabricate an eerie image. she needs him to be there to witness her violence against herself, and his eventual eradication of the mad wife is committed under the gaze of THE OTHER. from this aspect, it is my belief that lars von trier must be amateurish enthusiast for psychoanalysis, and he illustrates those psychoanalytic ideas through cinematic visuals in the deranged sequence of the mind of schizophreniac patients.
within the binary opppositions of genders, in other words, the essentialist perception of genders, woman represents nature while man stands for culture. in the case of film noir, femme fatale occupies the position of culture while the good woman who redeems the noir anti-hero posits in the spot of nurturing nature. just observe some scenes in classic noir, femme fatale always appears in the urban surroundings like night-clubs and public lounges. that is to say, woman shouldn't infiltrate into the realm of man, which is culture, and woman with culture is dangerously phallic as she might do harm unto the man as well as herself. but in the case of "antichrist", the evil of femininity is located within the nature while the man as the psychoanalyst, surely represents the culture. it erases the dichotomic demarcations within the stereotypes of good and bad femininities by generalizing that all woman-kind is derived from nature and nature is evil (church of satan). furthermore, sexually unbridled woman is hazardous just as nature without human appropriation is perilous, such as typhoon, earthquake, tsunami..etc. during this film, the woman conducts herself like a sex maniac who utilizes sex as alleviator at the paramount of her delirium. that symbolizes the foresight of an upcoming disaster once nature is running amok without the endeavorments of human moderations. in their last sex, she even attempts to cripple him, and the blood semen ejaculated from the wounded man in coma is the expellant gush of death. ejaculated semen during sex, by its archaic meaning, means life because each sex bears the potentiality of producing a life. onanism creates no life, and the woman maneuvers to induce from the man in the action of hand-sex is no essence of life. on the contrary, it's the essence of death.
does anyone who's seen it understand the metaphor of the last scene in the movie? in my comprehesion, the man plucks a plant filled with buds (i don't know how to describe the term correctly), and he gazes it in wonderments. then a group of young girl emerge from the hillside to leave him in perplexion. the plant of buds is the metaphor of seed-bearing matrix. after he finally murders his wife, in the moment of his foremost disgust with womankind, females just appear all around him to leave him dumbfound within the maze of nature. that means, you simply could not escape this ubiquitious existence of womankind, if you consider the female as evil, the essence of evil shall flow all around you to put you into perennial state of incessant nightmares.
(ps) i laughed when i read from pamel d, whose review says stuff like who wants to see nudity of willaim dafoe and charlotte gainsbourg, and she demeans roger ebert for praising the bravery in sex scenes of anitchrist while underrating isabella rosellini in blue velvet. my feelings after finally seeing antichrist is: i think both blue velvet and antichrist are good in different ways, and david lynch is a comparatively more glamorous by style and he favors to use really good-looking women as his femme fatales and his sex scenes are always disturbingly enjoyable. i do agree, ebert underrates blue velvet. but i must admit gainsbourge's sacrifice is bigger because who would really think this woman is sexy after watching this?! (cutting off clitoris, give me a break, i wanna puke) she's somehow a much much less glamorous woman by comparison with rosellini, and she destorys the last possible bit of feminine charm by uglifying herself even more! i assume, most people. after watching blue velvet, would consider isabella rosellini very sensual and alluring, goddess of sex to some, but no one would really think like that after antichrist (if you do, you might have a problem. lol.)
in my opinion, i consider the sex in antichrist is meant to be disgusting, and that's why trier casts william dafoe and charlotte gainsbourge to de-eroticize sex!!! it's meant to be un-sexy, repulsive, appalling and completely a turn-off! if the sex looks tasty, you might not wanna think of any of those metaphoric conceptualizations within this picture after being so mesmerized by the sex.