This is a film by Lars Von Trier, who apparently is competing with David Lynch for the “Artistic Sick Fuck” award. Antichrist is a movie starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe as this couple who lost their child and are coping with the aftermath.
This movie is divided into three chapters, a prologue, and an epilogue all of which are indicated by these beautiful handwritten chalk slides. In the first scene, which gives new meaning to the french reference to an orgasm as ‘the little death,’ Willem and Charlotte (I forget their movie names) are fucking in VERY slow motion-it’s actually very beautiful, the entire prologue is in black and white and in like 1/18th real time, everything is in SUPER slow motion, each drop of water in the shower is individuated, etc. That kind of thing. (If you’ve seen Melancholia, he does a similar technique there). So, they’re fucking and we see a LOT (like P in V action slowed down and under a microscope -you kind of feel like you’re fucking them too) but THEN it cuts to their baby who is in his crib, and we see him climb out, and start toddling around. He’s going through all the rooms, presumably looking for his mom and/or dad when uh oh, he finds them and they’re- well you know what they’re doing- so he’s like, “I’m out” and he walks into this other room where there’s a huge open window (it’s snowing outside…why is the window open) and he climbs up (if he had lived I swear he would have been in the Olympics- incredible upper body strength this kid) and he has this little doll and we see it fall out, then HE falls out…in slow motion which is really intense to watch. Then he dies. Then the movie starts and everything’s in color but clearly it’s not the usual sign that things are better/good that it usually is.
Charlotte is deep in depression- she’s in the hospital, she’s suicidal/depressed. We find out Willem is a therapist which is sort of fucked up because he keeps diagnosing her/saying that the doctor is overmedicating and not really helping her and it’s this sort of back and forth like, is his closeness helping or hindering this situation? Because she’s really fucked up. And she’s kind of in that damaged place where it comes out as sexual aggression to regain control and also as escapism, which results in these really tense scenes where they’re fighting and she says he never really loved his son, and doesn’t care that he’s dead and he that likes her more now because he can play “patient” with her (what’s cooler than being cool? ice cold)…then they’re fucking. It seems slightly unhealthy, but also their kid just died, I can’t imagine anyone being healthy as they deal with that.
But the biggest thing Charlotte faces after she’s been allowed to leave the hospital, is that she gets these anxiety attacks where she-
sidenote: WEIRD I just looked the movie up on IMDB to learn what their names were so I could throw them in just for some form of cinematic authenticity- only to learn that neither of them have names! It’s simply billed, “he” and “she.” (What’s up Layer Cake) Also, there are no other characters in the film. there are other people, but their faces are blurred out. Cool. Okay. Also this movie came out in 2009.
freaks out and can’t cope, in one instance she starts banging her head against a toilet so hard it leaves this smudge of blood on the porcelain. So Willem is like, damn I have to do something. So he gets one of those yellow notepads and makes a triangle diagram and tries to get her to say what she’s afraid of so she can confront it and ultimately get over it (he’s clearly never seen that video from Maury of that girl who is afraid of pickles). So after a little confusion on her part she finally says that she’s scared of the woods/nature. So of course they decide to stay in this cabin in the middle of the woods.
Anyone who’s ever seen a horror movie knows this is a bad idea, but apparently neither of them have, so they go. And actually it’s so NOT stereotypically handled that it sort of doesn’t matter about the strong horror tradition of woods being related to early death. But so they go. Clearly she’s having issues with being in the woods and to remedy this they do these exercises in exposure (which is interesting because ‘exposure’ is also a term for a type of infant abandonment when people take children into the woods and leave them to die- connecting all the dots) so she can slowly overcome her fear. But in between these exercises, they sort of have this one conversation about the nature of women.
It had been mentioned earlier that Charlotte/’She’ hasn’t been to this cabin since she came up with their son to finish her thesis BUT that she didn’t actually finish it then because when she was writing it there, she no longer felt it was true. Her thesis is basically about how women were targeted unjustly during the middle ages and beyond for being ‘witches’ and other such sexist crimes. But then as she’s explaining to her husband (because he found all these drawings of women being burned at the stake in the basement) she posits, “if the conclusion we come to after centuries of sexist oppression is that people are evil and power hungry and exploit weakness, these characteristics are also attributable to the ‘innocent’ women accused of crimes.” Willem is like, “wait wtf” and defends women, but hilariously enough sort of does so in this really chauvinistic way that’s completely dismissive of Charlotte’s opinion and doesn’t allow her to really explain/give creedance to her ideas. Even though she’s the one who was writing her THESIS on it.
Anyway. So, that conversation happens. Another thing that happens is that they open the autopsy report for their kid and the only thing found to be odd was that the bones in his feet were abnormal. Then Willem/’He’ goes through some photographs and sees that the kid’s shoes are on the wrong feet in almost every photo. i would be lying if I said I understood what this meant. At first I thought it was going to be one of those Sixth Sense Münchausen syndrome reveals, like that woman in the red suitdress at her daughter’s funeral. Because also SPOILER ALERT we do see a flashback to the prologue in one of the later chapters and SHE SEES THE KID GOING TO THE WINDOW and DOESN’T GET UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And like, all her depression stuff is all these feelings of guilt and earlier in the movie you’re like, ‘No Charlotte don’t beat yourself up’ but then after that you’re like, ‘Damn Charlotte that’s fucked up.’
Okay but I haven’t even gotten to the crazy part(s) yet. So, they’re in this shed in the cabin/next to the cabin whatever. They are having more passionate sex when something goes wrong for Charlotte and she takes a piece of wood and HITS WILLEM REALLY HARD IN THE DICK. So hard that he passes out from pain/shock almost instantly. But she keeps giving him a handjob until he COMES BLOOD. And it squirts on her. Okay, if this is a lot- brace yourself because it’s nowhere near done.
Then, she takes a circular weight and the metal pole it’s around AND SCREWS IT INTO HIS LEG and then with a WRENCH ATTACHES IT ON THE OTHER SIDE. So, he has this weight literally bolted to his leg. the metal is going through his leg. Somehow there’s not a picture online…I’m doing a really shitty job explaining it, but you should watch the movie it’s on instant right now. Okay. So, while he’s out with this thing through his leg and a broken dick, she start masturbating but with his limp hand (….) THEN she takes a pair of scissors and cuts her clitoris out. I don’t know if they show it or not because I didn’t look. I never don’t look at gore and I didn’t look at this.
Soo then I forget, maybe she passes out or goes somewhere to get something, but Willem wakes up and he’s just like WHAT THE WHAT- and rightly so. He tries to unscrew the nut/bolt but he can’t find the wrench so this weight is not going anywere. So he DRAGS himself with this weight attached through his leg into the forest and goes into this empty cavern he finds. Actually the two of them saw it earlier when Charlotte was demonstrating that she was over her woods fear and she stuck her hand into it. But now he drags his limp body into it trying to get away from her. Meanwhile she has gone completely batshit she’s screaming “You said you would never leave me! I thought you wanted to help me!” It’s insane.
But while Willem is hiding in this cave thing, there’s a black bird (maybe a cormorant?) in there and it keeps squawking so he bludgeons it to death with this rock, but not before Crazy McCrazerson hears the bird dying and finds him. THEN she leaves to go get a shovel to dig him out, but when she breaks through, she just hits him repeatedly in the face with the shovel. I don’t know how he wasn’t already dead at this point, but this kills him. Then she’s crying and I forget what she does next. The last scene of the movie (the epilogue) is all these women walking through the forest around Willem (who is alive again) and all their faces are blurred. Also, much earlier, they had this weird outdoor sex scene where the tree roots suddenly became entwined with the naked limbs of many women.
OH! I almost forgot there was this prophecy about three beggars coming: pain, grief and despair. Represented by a black bird, a fox and a deer. There’s also this WEIRD shot where Willem is in the forest and he starts to get scared after Charlotte is ‘cured’ …because it’s the woods and it’s really f’ing scary, and this bush rustles when there’s no wind so he goes over to check it out and it’s a tiny baby fox that TALKS and he says “Chaos Reigns”…this is in the chapter ‘Chaos’ so this makes sense. AND there are all these natural scenes of violence- aside from this odd induced violence by Charlotte- their presence seems to have upset the balance of things, Willem frightens a deer who’s giving birth and the newborn falls out of her while she’s running away, there’s a bird that eats a baby bird in a particularly gruesome fashion (remember they went to the woods because their child died) there’s this weird scene that looks like that fake photo of a breast with larvae in it- Willem sleeps with his hand outside the window and all these little things attach to him in his sleep and he freaks out when he wakes up- they look like fat pale blue ticks. Maybe thirty of them on his hand. Ugh.
Anyway. The main message I got from this movie was “women are evil” but also they are driven to this evil by men/their surroundings. So they are guilty but also just a product of their surroundings? Idk somehow this turned into a psychology discussion in my brain so I’m going to leave it there. This movie is completely fucked up but also very memorable and interesting. I did like it.