Lars von Trier is a director who, even during his most joyous moments, somehow manages to make films that make otherwise well-oriented audiences want to join those fabled lemmings. So, when von Trier admits that his latest offering, Antichrist was a “type of therapy” for his own depression, this should be ample warning that the film could very well suck castrated balls. If the audience at the Cannes Film Festival premiere is a form of reliable confirmation, “jeers and laughter” have rocket-launched von Trier’s cinematic portrait of a grieving couple (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) towards the worst type of infamy. Here’s a NYMag-issued take (spoiler alert!) that could either save or destroy your own sanity:
After knocking him unconscious, Gainsbourg bores a hole in Dafoe’s leg with a hand drill and bolts him to a grindstone to keep him from escaping. Then, she quickly smashes his scrotum with some sort of blunt object (the moment of impact happens slightly below the frame). We don’t actually see his testicles become disengaged from this body, though it’s apparently implied. Next, she bring him to a climax with her hands and he ejaculates blood (yes, it shows this). But that’s not all! Later, in an extreme closeup — lensed by Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle! — Gainsbourg cuts off her own clitoris with a pair of scissors.
Uhh…. fuck. If any positive light can be shone on this situation, I’m guessing that Vincent Gallo will be thrilled to give up the Cannes notoriety secured by his blowjob-laden opus, The Brown Bunny. It goes without saying that both films give starring roles to dicks, both literally and metaphorically, but while there have been films with defensible castration scenes, damn, someone’s gonna have to conjure up a very creative justification for this one. Obviously, I haven’t seen Antichrist, but I wish that I could have somehow warned von Trier about the irony involved with debuting a Willem Dafoe film at Cannes. Whatever the case, this is a hell of a way to throw off the Cannes measuring stick. Antichrist is gonna make Inglourious Basterds seem like a lush, velvety meadow filled with Golden Labrador puppies and lavender tutu-adorned ballerinas.