Filmmaker Lars von Trier, the master-provocateur behind the racially-charged Manderlay with Danny Glover, has caused a major stir at the Cannes Film Festival. A major, major stir. His latest film is called Antichrist. The story follows a grieving couple, William Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, who take a trip to a cabin in the woods to mend their hearts over the death of their son. Sounds sweet enough to me. Not! After a while the inconsolable wife dumps her meds into the toilet and turns into a blood-thirsty, murderous, sexual monster. Literally. The film is being called part horror film and part porn and part fantasia. It also includes a bloody genital mutilation scene that many critics are calling unacceptable and horridly misogynist. You know, as if von Trier is saying: Men, beware. At the heart of every woman there's a psychosexually blood-thirsty beast a.k.a. an Antichrist.
However, von Trier says the film represents his long-term personal fixations. Von Trier's rocky mental health has been public knowledge for quite some time and he says Antichrist is his artistic response to what happens when one says No to medication and dares to face dysfunctional impulses. Sounds scary enough. Particularly if your impulses send women into the woods seeking bloody revenge from their hubbies. I'm not certain if Antichrist will be the new Exorcist, but IFC has picked up the film and it will be released in the States real soon.
Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.