As I pointed out in my School Of Tarkovsky series, Antichrist is one of the best dedications to the filmmaking style of Andrei Tarkovsky since Carlos Reygadas' Japon (Von Trier even dedicated Antichrist to him)...
|Solaris (1972) Antichrist (2009)|
|Top: Images from The Exorcist, Bottom: Images from Antichrist (shout out to Matt Reddick for the two print screens)|
Von Trier also subtly distorts the visuals from time to time with a kind of water drop effect on the screen. Additionally, Antichrist draws some similarities to films like Eraserhead & Lost Highway (Lynch) as well as Irreversible & Enter The Void (Noe) with its disorienting, droning & base-heavy soundtrack that just adds an extra level of eeriness (see video clips at the end of the blog)
So lets do a quick tally: unexpected flashes of demonic faces on a distorted screen combined with droning audio, evil talking animals, penises ejaculating blood and an amazingly intense performance (Charlotte Gainsbourg).
Now there's a lot more to Antichrist than the possible implication that Lars has issues with women (which is a theory that I could be WAY off on). Antichrist is also about depression and how it can be crippling, especially when dealing with the loss of a child (in the first have of the film Gainsbourg pretty much blames herself for her sons death). Anyone who knows anything about Von Trier knows about his battles with depression, phobias and anxiety (something Gainsbourg's character battles with in the film). So while on one hand Gainsbourg's character could be seen as "evil", on the other hand Gainsbourg's character could be an extension of Von Trier himself. Religion also played a heavy part in Von Trier's upbringing (he was raised Jewish but eventually converted to Catholicism). Besides the obvious the title, Antichrist (along with many of his other films like Breaking The Waves) is filled with a ton of religious guilt and symbolism.
I recommend that this not be the last thing you watch before you go to sleep. It’s a good idea to have a “happy” movie on deck right after you’re finished watching this.