Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Berlin Review: Could 'War on Everyone' Be the Best Bad Cop Comedy Ever? Berlin Review: Could 'War on Everyone' Be the Best Bad Cop Comedy Ever? Berlin Review: With 'Midnight Special,' Jeff Nichols Offers Up a Very Special Sci-Fi Thriller Berlin Review: With 'Midnight Special,' Jeff Nichols Offers Up a Very Special Sci-Fi Thriller How They Designed the Characters and Sounds for the Oscar-Nominated 'Mad Max: Fury Road' How They Designed the Characters and Sounds for the Oscar-Nominated 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Meryl Streep to Fund The Writers Lab, Supporting Women Screenwriters Over 40 (EXCLUSIVE) Meryl Streep to Fund The Writers Lab, Supporting Women Screenwriters Over 40 (EXCLUSIVE) Oscars: Evaluating the Best Costume Design Nominees Oscars: Evaluating the Best Costume Design Nominees Oscar Predictions 2016 Oscar Predictions 2016 Roger Deakins on Shooting Hollywood From the Inside Out in 'Hail, Caesar!' (Video) Roger Deakins on Shooting Hollywood From the Inside Out in 'Hail, Caesar!' (Video) A Letter to Michael B. Jordan A Letter to Michael B. Jordan Bona Fide Acquires Movie Rights to Knausgaard New York Times Series 'My Saga' for Alexander Payne (EXCLUSIVE) Bona Fide Acquires Movie Rights to Knausgaard New York Times Series 'My Saga' for Alexander Payne (EXCLUSIVE) WATCH: 9 Oscar-Nominated Screenwriters on How They Got Their Start, Their Writing Process, and Much More WATCH: 9 Oscar-Nominated Screenwriters on How They Got Their Start, Their Writing Process, and Much More Inside the Oscar Nominees Lunch Inside the Oscar Nominees Lunch How John Ridley and Company Create the Emotional Resonance of 'American Crime' How John Ridley and Company Create the Emotional Resonance of 'American Crime' Top 10 Takeaways:  'Hail, Caesar!' Leads Three New Releases—Which Barely Total $20 Million Top 10 Takeaways: 'Hail, Caesar!' Leads Three New Releases—Which Barely Total $20 Million 'Deadpool' Review & Roundup: Ryan Reynolds Finds a Franchise Worthy of His Talents 'Deadpool' Review & Roundup: Ryan Reynolds Finds a Franchise Worthy of His Talents Arthouse Audit: 'The Club' and 'Rams' Reveal Weakness in Subtitled Film Market Arthouse Audit: 'The Club' and 'Rams' Reveal Weakness in Subtitled Film Market Inside the Directors Guild Awards Inside the Directors Guild Awards Joel & Ethan Coen Crack Each Other Up, And Me, Talking About 'Hail, Caesar!' Joel & Ethan Coen Crack Each Other Up, And Me, Talking About 'Hail, Caesar!' WATCH: Oscar Nominee Tom Hardy Explains Why Shooting 'The Revenant' Was So Bloody Hard (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) WATCH: Oscar Nominee Tom Hardy Explains Why Shooting 'The Revenant' Was So Bloody Hard (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) How They Created the Bear VFX for the Mauling of Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Revenant' How They Created the Bear VFX for the Mauling of Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Revenant' What Happened to Scorsese's $70-Million Short 'The Audition' Starring DiCaprio, De Niro and Pitt? What Happened to Scorsese's $70-Million Short 'The Audition' Starring DiCaprio, De Niro and Pitt?

Cannes Press Conference Erupts Over Trier's Antichrist

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 18, 2009 at 9:34AM

The Monday press conference for Lars von Trier's Antichrist was packed. Right out of the gate, The London Daily Mail's Baz Bamigboye demanded that Trier justify his film. This immediately threw the filmmaker off, and he refused to expound on his thinking. "I don't have to justify," he said, his hand trembling.
0

AntichristDSCN8388

The Monday press conference for Lars von Trier's Antichrist was packed. Right out of the gate, The London Daily Mail's Baz Bamigboye demanded that Trier justify his film. This immediately threw the filmmaker off, and he refused to expound on his thinking. "I don't have to justify," he said, his hand trembling.

"Yes you do," Bamigboye shouted back.

"I cannot justify myself," said Trier. "Because I make films and enjoyed it very much... I feel that you are all my guests, it's not the other way around... I work for myself, and I do this little film that I am now kind of fond of. I don't owe anybody an explanation."

Moderator Henri Behar asked him why he chose this film. "I never have a choice," replied Trier. "It's the hand of God, I'm afraid. And I am the best film director in the world...Other directors may feel the same. Maybe they don't say it."

The actors worked with no preparation, without much talking, they said, guided by Trier. As a result they became "flexible," said Dafoe, who felt that making the film was like a "dream."

"Intense" was Gainsbourg's word. "It was special." But was it enjoyable? "It was--in a weird way."

Asked about the genital self-mutilation, which is shown in close-up, Trier replied, "For me not to show it would be lying. This is a very dark dream about guilt and sex and stuff. It came in naturally."

Trier rewrote Anders Thomas Jensen's initial script (crediting him as a consultant, he said), and made up his own religious mythology. When asked if he lied in his films, Trier replied, "There's a form of honesty in filmmaking that is important to me. I also made films where there are no houses, just a line on the floor. That is lying, yes, but lying in an obvious way."

"I'm not trying to say anything," added Trier, calling Antichrist "a dream film." He doesn't believe in considering the audience when he makes a film. "I've been hit hard by the press before," he said. "I like it, also. It's a good start of discussion."

For the Danes, this is a comeback for Trier. Many were afraid he wouldn't make films anymore, after turning out two films that nobody saw. "Trier was supposed to reinvent cinema," said one Danish critic at the press conference Monday. "This is causing a stir. He hasn't caused a stir since 2003." That film was Dogville, which was followed by its sequel, Mandalay, part of a planned trilogy, and The Boss of It All, which was released by IFC.

Distributor Nordisk Film will open Antichrist in Denmark uncut on 17 sold-out screens May 19 as an arthouse release. "We don't censor anything, we're Danish," said Nordisk's Jan Lehmann. "We've never seen a film like this film. It's a piece of art."

UPDATE: Richard and Mary Corliss defend the movie in Time.

This article is related to: Media, Festivals, Genres, Cannes, Horror , Thriller


E-Mail Updates






Festivals on TOH



Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.