Apr 01 2010

Unreal Movie Vault: Antichrist (2009)

Published by at 2:50 pm under Movies,Reviews

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There are weird movies, there are surreal movies, and then there are movies that are so incredibly f*cked up that you have a hard time believing what it is you just watched.  Antichrist, from Danish director Lars von Trier, falls into the last category mentioned.  The film features amazing cinematography, a haunting score, brilliant performances by Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, and enough symbolism to make an AP English teacher’s head spin.  But that doesn’t necessarily make it a very good – let alone enjoyable – film.  Some spoilers ahead.

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Antichrist is presented as four chapters, not including a prologue and epilogue.  During the prologue, which is filmed beautifully in black and white and in super slow-motion, we see a man and a woman in the throes of graphic, passionate sex.  I say “graphic,” because right off the bat, von Trier gives us a look at Willem Dafoe’s (or a body double’s) member working its way into Charlotte Gainsbourg (or, uh, another body double).  It’s not even yet Chapter One, and we’ve already got male frontal and penetration.  Yikes.

Anyway, during the sex between Dafoe and Gainsbourg (who I’ll refer to as Man and Woman from here on out, as these characters are never given names), their young child Nic climbs out of his crib, briefly watches his parents in mid-coitus, and then proceeds to open a window, fall out, and plunge to his death.  Woman can be seen climaxing during her son’s final moments, and the events that set Antichrist in motion are complete.

Woman is considerably and understandably broken up over the death of her child, totally paralyzed and overwhelmed with grief.  Man, a psychotherapist of some sort is also upset, but not nearly as much as his wife.  As such, he takes it upon himself to treat his wife as he would a patient and determine the root of her intolerable anguish.  Man determines that at least part of Woman’s fear stems from a cabin – called Eden – deep in the woods and far from civilization, a place where Woman and Nic had spent time alone in the past while Woman worked on her gynocide thesis.  Man decides that Woman must confront her fears, and so the two of them set out for Eden.  As you probably guessed, this is where the movie starts to get quite bizarre.

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Indeed, Woman is horrified of Eden and the surrounding woods – not that I can blame her, the place looks absolutely terrifying.  As she works to recover, however, Man starts to see creepy symbols of death everywhere he looks: a talking fox chewing on its own guts, and a fearless deer with its dead offspring literally hanging out if its uterus, for instance.  To make things even stranger, Woman seems completely driven by and obsessed with sex, practically raping Man whenever she gets the chance.  Is this all symbolism or simply von Trier trying to shock his audience?  I can certainly see the symbolism – more on that in a bit – but either way, it doesn’t make for a pleasant viewing experience.

Man eventually stumbles upon Woman’s thesis, which prompts him and her to engage in a discussion about nature.  It is here where the accusations of von Trier being a misogynist spawn, as Woman professes that if nature is inherently evil, and woman is the essence of evil, then all woman are, bu their nature, inherently evil.  Man dismisses Woman’s theory, but von Trier – through Woman’s subsequent actions – seems to try and support it.  Woman eventually attacks Man in an ambush and plots his murder; she also smashes his testicles with a block and cuts of her own clitoris with a pair of scissors.  Yeah, you read that last line correctly.  The symbolism?  If I had to guess, I’d say that Woman – as she believes that women are inherently evil – took a drastic measure to remove that evil, or, more specifically, her womanhood.  I suppose the other way of looking at it would be that as the clitoris is a woman’s last link to man (it’s the clitoris that develops into a penis, after all), Woman wanted to totally separate herself from men and embrace her evil nature.  Either way, it’s a tough scene to watch.

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Again, Dafoe and Gainsbourg give incredible performances; at no point during all the bizarre occurrences did I ever get the impression that either was “acting.”  Antichrist is incredibly shot, too, and it’s hard not to admire von Trier’s eye for framing a scene.  The movie is downright terrifying at times, too.  But if von Trier’s message is indeed that women are evil – and I don’t doubt that it is – then he’s gone way too far just to make that point.  As for where the title of the film comes, I have my theory, but I’d rather not spoil too much of the movie.  Also, I’m pretty curious to hear yours, if you’ve managed to get through this one.

Antichrist is a unique, well-made film, but it moves from A to D to S to M, when it could have simply gone from A to B.  The symbols found throughout are anything but subtle, and are often more of a distraction than a clue as to what’s actually going on.  I can’t recommend this movie in good conscience, but I would also wager you’ve never seen anything like it.

2.5 out of 5 stars





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38 responses so far

  • FrankenPC

    I actually took away the idea that women aren’t evil. They are insane. By using a steady diet of social constructs and safety nets (Motherhood, protection, family, etc) they appear sane. But only in a thinly veiled fashion. Periodically women may release this insanity by performing aggressive/primal behaviors.

    So, when she let’s her inner beast out (sex) she looses her key anchor to sanity (motherhood) and her synthetic construct falls like a house of cards. She withdraws. She may have stayed that way. Deciding to not feel anything rather than face her inner demon.

    So, the arrogant man with his “fix it” mentality decides he alone can “fix” her and rebuild the cards. But first she must be bathed in the chaos that is mother nature to draw her out. Not realizing what he’s getting himself into he inadvertently finds himself castrated of his manhood for forcing her out of her shell. Meanwhile, she destroys her genitals as an insane act of defiance against the chaos itself. She’s choosing her fate and embracing he inner insanity as a badge of courage.

    And that was a steaming pile of bullshit. I have no idea what that movie was about. In another decade I may finally finish deciphering Eraser head and I’ll continue with this one.

  • J5

    Testicles.
    Smashed.
    With.
    Log.

    Ren & stimpy were wrong.
    Logs are not all fun & games. Sometimes they smash testicles.

  • Tishy

    I watched this on Netflix a few weeks back. I had absolutely no idea what I was watching and still haven’t figured it out, though I do love reading what others feel about this movie.

  • Tracy

    I was waiting so long for this movie when I heard it was hitting a few festivals and I was severely underwhelmed and offended at von Trier’s message. I took away that he was saying that women are evil and men are the victims of that subsequent evil. Throughout the whole movie Woman is going crazy and Man is just.. trying to deal with it. Also the fact that they’re just Man and Woman says a lot. These are base representations of men and women. There’s no name and no discernible personality coming from these two, they just represent von Trier’s basest assumptions about men and women… Anyway.. That’s what I thought.

  • Madison

    @ FrankenPC

    Interesting take. I wonder if women would prefer to be portrayed as insane as opposed to evil. I do like the son as the anchor to her sanity. And the Man’s arrogance is referenced several times. So maybe you’re onto something more than bullshit.

    @ Tracy

    Notmally, when someone says a movie is negative toward women or other groups, I tend to think that they’re looking too much into things. Not in this case, though – the message was pretty clear. Definitely agree with you.

  • FrankenPC

    @Madison

    Maybe the mutilation of the clitoris was really an acknowledgment that the social veneer was the “unreality” and the violence she finally came to express toward the end was her true nature (hence the allegory of nature being dark and cruel). Sex was just an escape mechanism which had ultimately led to her offspring’s death and had to be removed like it was a disease.

    IDK, this movie ultimately struck me as a deconstructionist approach to a nihilistic view of the universe. Trier is the dark one. This appears to be an essay on how he views the natural violence inherent in humanity.

    In other words, if you viewed the movie in reverse, you would see a violent hatred of all things related to love and life evolving into the ultimate culmination of love which is a new human life.

    …orrrrr just more mental masturbation BS.

  • Sverrir Sigfusson

    I thought it was fantastic, but so hard to watch that I have no will to see it again.

  • Tracy

    @FrankenPC

    You’re absolutely right. Trier is extremely dark and cynical and that’s why I love him. This is his ultimate opus that represents his nihilism that is so delicious. I am hurt that he sees women as evil, but coming from his background, it’s understandable. I remember seeing the talk he did at Cannes or.. I forgot what festival, and a journalist was pissed and asked him to justify this movie. Him, Charlotte, and Willem were like WTF? There’s nothing to justify, this is just his vision. It’s extremely dark, somewhat subtle, I think, and ferociously violent at times, but it’s not at all gratuitous which is what I think a lot of people thought when they heard that a woman cuts off her clit. The reasons why, the context, it all makes so much sense and makes his statement without a shadow of a doubt. I never thought about it being a deconstruction, but reading it now it makes so much sense.

    I’ll stop felating Lars now, lol. I just think he’s an amazing filmmaker who got his message across.

  • http://philsbs.blogspot.com/ phil

    freaky, weird, strange, gross and alltogether odd, yikes. I watched this after i read ur schpeel because i haven’t head of it and i like Dafoe.. this one is out there wow. i took from it ppl r crazy never go it alone with crazy ppl, wait a sec if all ppl r crazy then how does one…

  • Colin

    Definitely deserves a better rating in my opinion. The movie was a rarity in modern cinema: the merging of mainstream and exploitation. Also, was this not a real horror movie? Afterward, I had felt like I had just gotten back from a dark place that I was happy to be out of but grateful for experiencing. This also is one of, if not the best examples of a movie with perfect cinematography and acting performances.

    I give it a 4.5 out of 5 (.5 removed for seeing blood shoot out of Dafoe’s penis and seeing a clitoris cut off)

    P.S. The millstone was a great addition.

  • John

    I have been trying to find more information about this movie after watching it on home video because I just don’t get it; what is the story here?. What is the purpose of a movie like this? For one, it is grotesque. So many images just do not have any meaning!! I watched the version with German sub-titles and I thought may be may be I missed some of the words to understand what the director (note the small “d”) wanted to portray. Was the woman insane or evil? What was the purpose of all the sex, escapism? If so, why destroy the very essence of her sexuality by cutting off her cl***s and after destroying her partner’s manhood? God….

    Why the hell is it called Anti Christ? I still do not have an answer, and may be I don;t care. May be this von Lars is a sick and troubled man.

  • Amy

    WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD — Interesting reading the comments. I really have no idea what the meaning behind this movie is, other than I believe there was one. I took the cutting off of the clitoris act as her remembering that she saw her son falling out the window, and didn’t care, but continued to enjoy having sex….she was in so much pain at the memory that she cut off her sex organ. I didn’t get why she mutilated her sons feet by always putting the shoes on backwards. I also didn’t get the significance of the faceless masses walking towards Eden — maybe that was a stab at organized religion??? Really, i’m at a loss.

  • Scott

    Honestly, I can’t see what is so hard to watch or so offensive about this movie. It’s very tame by today’s horror/torture-porn standards and although it made little sense, and despite what others may take from it, or what I myself took from it, I don’t think any of us, from what we’ve seen on the screen, can deceipher what exactly von Trier’s message was. The symbolism was so abstract and unstable that it’s nearly impossible to know for sure what he was trying to say. One thing I saw, is that in no way was it anti-women. Quite the opposite as I saw it. I saw it as saying that in this world where we believe men dominate, in actuality, women have the total control. Women decide if sex occurs (not including rape, of course), women ultimately decide if the race continues at all. Just my take.

    Now back to it being “hard to watch”, I didn’t see it, nor did my fiance. It was very tame, with little gore and nothing over the top as far as the violence was concerned. Try The Human Centipede if you want a movie that is hard to watch, stays with you, and although I feel it is the best modern horror movie of the last 15 years, it’s one that I liked a lot but wouldn’t care to see ever again. But, that’s horror. Horror is meant to offend, disturb, and be, well, horrifying.

  • Pingback: Unreality - The Human Centipede Review |()

  • Maggie

    As a woman I thought this movie was amazing, utterly gorgeous and enduring. Not many movies stay with me, allow me to muse on their many interpretations, or allow the world to see women in a complex way. Women’s roles in film (especially in American cinema) are usually one dimensional, fetishized droll. The story in Anti-Christ seems to imply that women are nature, nature is chaos, and chaos is evil. Furthermore, man is logic and reason, and seeks to make order of chaos to both make himself important, and to control or have the illusion of power. If women embrace or are aware of their true links to nature, they become indistinguishable from chaos and evil. Many women do and have throughout the centuries committed atrocities, and many have been enslaved, burned, and tortured for embracing nature. The message is dark, bleak, and filled with metaphors pertaining to a patriarchal system of control, and a matriarchal systems of love and death.

    I have never felt so simultaneously amazed and repulsed during graphic scenes, these moments, however seem to make way more sense than the average slasher film.

    Please see this film, if for no other reason than to applaud Dafoe and Gainsborough’s performances.

  • Unimpressed

    Ok so I have to agree that woman cutting of her clitoris was simply to rid herself of anything that ties her to sex and ultimately her sons death. With that being said after watching this film I can’t help that it’s simply an attempt to shock an audience with an artistic view to pander to the directors own arogance. I don’t mean to say it wasn’t executed well simply that it was done so the director felt superior

  • William Osler

    Appreciate the depth of the above comments.

    Perhaps the Title refers to the one of the main original conflicts of Judeo-Christian theology with the natural religions of the time, derogatorily termed “pagan”. A belief in a single personal g-d demytholized nature and made nature orderly and a gift from g-d, not to be feared. But that gift of nature, including sex, can only be safe within the restricting confines of the religion.

    Perhaps this film need not be viewed as misogynist but rather a re-examination of the conflicts of these two views and the “chaos” that results in and from that conflict.

    Perhaps her mutilation or both Man and Woman was an extreme extension of the behavior of ascetics or religious orders that renounce all sexual activity.

    Thought provoking movie.

  • saide

    I wasn’t able to watch the violent part but I saw it in a fast motion. I didn’t want to miss any part of this multi-layered cinema.
    I liked the fact that woman is nature and raw and man is struggling with his close minded reasons…I could feel that director created a chain of signifiers but my limited knowledge didn’t allow me to enjoy it as much as the film had to offer

  • Simon

    I have to say I was a bit disappointed in this film. As usual for Von Trier the cinematography was gorgeous and the actor’s performances were outstanding. However, I just feel that he peaked with Zentropa and nothing since has ever been as complete. Is he trying to be too complex now? The symbolisms (many conflicting) were flying all over the place in this film and not at all subtle such as in Kingdom or Zentropa.

    Anyway, my take on the clitoris removal and I may be completely off track here, was that some matriarchal groups/covens removed the clitoris because they felt the organ controlled them and distracted them from focussing on their witchcraft. I.e. after the woman removes her clitoris the hail storm commences (which she has referred to as a conjuring of the sisters earlier in the movie). I believe that these covens felt that the removal of the organ gave them strength/added powers etc. and this is affirmed by the gathering of the faceless women at the end of the movie i.e. the sisterhood of witches.

    But, as I said I could be completely wrong :S

    Please Lars, we know you can do better :(

  • Rene

    I absolutely agree with Maggie’s interpretation of the movie, although she seemed to have seen some details that for me were not as clear until now. Is a beautiful movie, a unique piece of art, and to the contrary to what it seems on first sight, once the shock is left behind the message of criticism about our social system and human nature is the closest to real I have encountered.

  • Al

    I avoided watching this film for nearly 2 years, thinking I may get angry about the misogyny. I like von Trier’s work and have seen all but one of his movies. In the end I found Antichrist to be overrated and his weakest. The gore was no more than a horror flick, just a clitoris scene was probably more unusual. But the main problem was taht it was simplistic, silly, muddled and worst: Boring. I just was sad that this was his latest. Hope he feels better soon.

  • Emily

    I completely agree with Maggie. I thought of it more of the disconnect between man and woman. He wouldn’t let her deal with her grief in her own way. Despite her fear of the woods and her premonition like dreams, he knew what was best and decided what to do. And it all went to shit.

    I cant help but think that this ties almost with the religious history of man kind. Pre-Christianity, most religions included many dieities or were nature based – thus more balanced. Now considering the reign of christianty/extreme patriarchy and a species becoming extinct every 20 minutes, nature is going to come back in a big way to neutralize again. (Flood, storms, disease, “end of times” etc.)

  • Jennifer

    *Spoilers*
    I just got done watching this movie and couldn’t figure out why I wasted my time doing so. I lost count of how many times they had sex (which I really didn’t need to see), nor did I need to see the masturbation. I guess the worst part for me was after she slammed him in the groin with a log and then went on to get him off…causing blood to shoot out. *Quivers* That really made me sick. The mutulation of herself was the other horrifying part. BLAHHH!!! The best part was when he choked her to death. Sorry, but she was whacked and after all she did, she deserved it!! I do think they were incredible actors. Not sure what the point of the movie was, right now I’m thinking it was to cause the audience to feel what I feel right now. Disgusted. lol.

  • Marc

    I watched the whole movie trying to label one of the characters as the ‘Antichrist,’ but it didn’t really work. Given that the J-C mythology is the most hostile religion towards nature, I’ll offer that Antichrist = anti-anti-nature. A nicely complex double-negative approach to the sexuality, femininity/masculinity, and violence through the flick.

    Personally, I was most creeped out by the revelation about the boy’s feet in the autopsy report /photographs. The mother-son relationship was very disturbing for me. I also happen to think that it ties the whole otherwise jumbled movie together.

  • William Morizio

    To answer everyone’s question about who is the antichrist and all that, well it turns out the antichrist is nature itself. I’ll explain. The film changed from it’s initial story. Lars first wanted to write a movie where the big revelation was that the earth was created by satan and not God. He saw the duality of nature, it being representative of beauty and yet, it is also the symbol of pure chaos. In nature, in the wild, animals kill eachother to survive, it is a cruel and uncivilized world, filled with uncontrollable chaos. The first thing he ever wrote concerning this idea was the title: Antichrist. And that referred to nature itself, being the antithesis of the original idea of nature, which is Eden.

    However, the plot was outed by a few producers and this infuriated Lars. He let go of it for a while. He eventually got back to this idea while trying to get out of a depression. He kept the title and some themes but built another story around it, with another twist, going more with human nature than nature itself. He did make one change to the title though, he added a symbol to it, the T. It is now a small t with a circle on top, perverting the symbol of woman and adding in a religious symbol at the same time, to go along with the title.

    He did keep a lot of his original idea though, especially in the way it’s filmed. The cinematography is truly astonishing in this film since it is mesmerising and yet hard to watch. The duality of nature is thus represented by the duality of the film’s picture. It is beautiful and disturbing at the same time. He also kept the duality by having Eden within the forest of earth, to emphasise this.

    Only 2 scenes are disgusting, really, the mutilation of the two sex organs. But those are just brief moments. What really freaked me out and stayed with me up to this day, is the mutilation of her son’s feet. Now THAT is creepy. Especially the scene where you realize that she was conscious of it and you even see the kid crying as she’s submitting him to the subtle torture. Amidst Eden and the forest, she got aquainted to the duality of nature and got into the darker elements of nature. Instead of being motherly, she delved into the opposite persona, and started torturing her son. This was also due to the duality of the interpretation of women as she read for her thesis. But check this, once she went away from the forest, she was back to normal. She is afraid of the forest because it let her onto another possible side, the evil and dark side of human nature, our ability to torture and hurt. And once she gets back to the forest, this side creeps again. And we know the moment, it’s when she’s all fine again. She walks on the grass, in the water, she is embracing nature, but subsequently embracing her evil and darker side, which she unleashes soon after.

    I can go on and on, tell me if you want me to

  • DJMadAdam

    @William Morizio: Thank you for this explanation. It really ties it all together. But, given that Von Trier suffered a setback in the production of the film such that he had to change the plot, perhaps the film would have best been retitled “Eden”, because I gain no sense whatsoever of the symbolism of the Antichrist in this story structure as it’s supposedly rewritten.

  • Ann

    @ William Morizio: Thank you for your view, especially the part about  the son’s feet and the woman’s darker deeds was still puzzling to me but your view on it was very illuminating.

    My personal take on Antichrist (spoilers ahead):
    I personally never took this movie to be about essentially the characters or their grief or other storylines at all. The underlying themes are heavy and dark and in every aspect the narrative is serving those, and not the other way around. It’s a brilliant movie about the gruesomeness of nature, of being, with the human characters as puppets on a stage of something much bigger and scarier then their own lifes alone.

    Nature is inherently amoral. To any human being, immorality, the complete and utter lack of care for our pain and suffering that is inherent in the world around is, is unbearable. Hence we make up gods and caring universes, or if we cannot believe in something profound we decide to cling to the idea that the human race is capable of huddling together and forming a caring community in itself. We create, or decide to see, ‘good’ around us, inside us and within our communities, against the amoral and uncaring world ‘outside’. For amoral and uncaring feels for us moral creatures as an active evil, and the active evil of our combined Western cultures was called Satan or the antichrist.

    The last time she was in Eden the woman had an ephiphany: an oak lives for a hundred years and only needs to sprout one other oak to reproduce. Therefore every acorn she heard falling on the roof was in fact not a new life but an imminent death. She realized that the ‘evil’ she once considered ‘outside’ is very close by. It is everywhere, down to the core of the place she considered so beautiful: nature (or Eden).  Down to the core of herself, affecting everything and even the thing she loves most: her son. She realises that nature, and that includes herself, is ‘Satan’s church’ and that the supposed beauty around her is essentially death and decay. 
    After their sons death the man decides that the woman’s therapist is mistaken in diagnosing her with ‘an a-typical grief-pattern’ and that she needs to confront her deepest fears head-on and with no medication. He takes her for a stay in the place she fears most: Eden. In the trainjourney towards it he hypnotises her and asks her to do what he says: to imagine lying down in the grass, the green that she fears deeply, and become one with it. 
    I think that is a key-element in the story: she becomes the green, nature, Satan’s home, and that imagined act symbolises what is happening to her throughout the movie.

    I didn’t find either of the characters particularly ‘good’. Forcing a woman insane with grief off her treatment and medication and push her into confronting her deepest fears claiming it will be good for her, that you can ‘cure’ her, then murdering her when she breaks into a violent psychosis (which is for a part your responsability as a therapist putting her in this situation) seems horrible to me as well. Maybe the difference between the two might best not be seen in the level of evilness, but in the amount of chaos. The man is controlled, near-emotionless throughout, rational, with a self-assured claim to truth reason and stability, while the woman is out of her mind with grief, all raw emotion and devastating fear and (self)mutilation, clinging to concepts irrational yet horribly fitting in the story unfolding, and eventually collapsing into brutal and terrifying torture of him. He however, is rational and emotionless and ‘justified’ even while killing her and disposing of her body. She is chaos, he is rationale, yet in the context of the dark aspects of nature and ourselves, in a horrible way she is true and he is false, mirroring our own dearly beloved concepts of ethics and reason against the chaos and cruelty of what really is and what we really are made of.

  • http://n/a Adam

    LOL, Just come a cross this film I find it funny, it reminded me of “1990’s film Misery” doing it under the tree lol :) you’re leaving me, nothing new, making a film with 2 people yah sex is a dogmatised taboo and he gives his opinion without trying to be dogmatic.

  • Nataliya

    love this movie.. watched it 4 times. fantastic!!!!!! bravo, Lars von Trier! and thank you!!!

  • Abbey

    In response to a few posts that feel offended by this movies message: I don’t think it was saying that women are evil- I think this was not a message but, in fact, a warning to women and perhaps a statement to both genders that females are the creators and the destroyers (caos reigns) and they can mutilate their family unit more readily than males. I am female- I was not offended by this movie (granted I don’t take offense very easily).

  • Sean

    @J5 lmfao

  • http://marshaleigh.com/wp MarshaLeigh

    I so enjoyed everyone’s take and many eloquent replies which is helping me digest this film as I’ve had emotional heartburn all night.
    That being said, I’m the camp of admiring this film as I have most of his works. This film doesn’t contradict my own world view (Christianity). Antichrist means without God. The lack of God removes all love and is total chaos and evil. Woman brought about unleashing sin into nature in the Bible which makes sense in this story. If you want a true picture of evil, everything disgusting Von Trier included, as hard to watch as it was, was true to what true evil is. (William and Maggie’s comments really struck me as right on.) I was also moved by the child’s twisted feet, and that painful revelation made it even more clear that woman was evil from the beginning and was created evil. Eden of course is where woman was free to develop her true sin nature, and man represents humanity where sin is unleashed and does what it was meant to accomplish- and that is to destroy.

    Von Trier’s films no matter what are done so beautifully as well and will haunt me forever.

  • krace89

    I read a few of these posts after finishing the movie just to see the word on the street. Unlike some of you, I did not come away with the idea that women are evil per se but that there needs to be a deeper reading of what good and evil are.
    In the 1500-1600s during the witch hunts there were strict dichotomies which separated good-evil, man-woman, land-sea (in terms of the natural mystery), useful-waste and civilization-nature, etc., etc. Throughout the whole movie I kept in mind the title, antichrist, and that christianity has always contained the message of good to its believers. But if you look at some of the readings of poets at that time, like William Blake, he gives a diabolical reading of the bible in that he worships evil. He disagrees with all that ‘man’ has created to redeem himself after the fall from Eden which by his point of view was eve’s fault (which ties in to the namelessness of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ in the movie, like they are the generic ‘nature’ of these genders). So Blake writes following the course of what was deemed by christianity as evil mostly because it got in the way of ‘progress’. And so did the witches. Which I think was what the message was in the movie. When the land closures began in feudal europe and lords grabbed the common areas from the new proletariat, the women (because they had much say in the community already as soothsayers and wise women) were the ones who were targetted because they mostly stood in the way of the progress of capitalism and the new industrial era.
    So I rather liked the message I came away with in this movie…if it’s more than just a rambling idea of mine… I thought it brutally displayed the ‘character’ of what man and woman now stand for in our western society. As someone mentioned above, man must fix. Man has all of ‘nature’ entitled to him for the purpose of redeeming eve’s failure in eden, in order to create his paradise now on earth. and in the mean time he must ‘put up with woman’…step around her or fix her to suit his aims of progress. And woman must grapple, both in this movie and reality, which the fact that there is much more to her (and all human) nature than what ‘good’ sets out for us to accomplish– to obey and progress– there is also knowledge that can be gained from sensuality, emotion, and touch, rather than merely from being rational. But listening only to rationality suppresses something which woman, in the case, cannot as easily ignore as man who has been blanketed by the concept of ‘good’ since the medieval era.

  • Ashlee

    That is an absolutly stunning message…
    Women is the evil and man is the rasional.
    So sex keeps us closer to man but also keeps us sane?
    beautiful… I’m going to use that as an excuse the next time I want a quicky from my fiance, “Have sex with me or i’ll become more evil!”

  • Alen

    Ok so its a really good movie..took me two days to recover from the impact

  • frog

    Is it possible to give an opinion on opinions and synopsis alone? I will attempt it here. Humanity has a refined way of turning black and white simplicity into a muriad of hazy shades of grey usually to inflate there own egos. Christ was the ultimate example of the deliniaton between black and white, good and evil, love and hate. Yet, we have been muddying the waters ever since.. The more we move towards the light the more enlightened we become. The more we choose ego and darkess the more we become entangled in the mire of evil. This movie exemplifies the epitomy and definition of the latter. THERE ARE NO MYSTERIES HERE THE EQUATION IS ALWAYS THE SAME. Purest Love and Truth clarifies and casts out all fear… Evil exonerates confusion and chaos. You make the call. Ours has always been free will. I once more will choose the light. I pray you find the path of peace as well. Julie

  • ABS

    I saw the movie for the first time this past weekend. I had to stop it at the scene where ‘she’ hits ‘he’ in the testicles. I had nightmares that night and then the next morning had to finish watching just to see the ending. The most graphic, realistic movie I’ve ever seen. The performance by the actors was outstanding. The feelings that were brought out in me, will stay with me for a long time. No, nothing bad, I would never hurt my children or any man as in the movie. I admire the writer, the producer, all that gave themselves to this movie. Wish I could capture on paper the feelings of this movie, but I am not that creative of a writer…or ever could be.

  • G.I.R.L.

    He and she represent the male and female archetypes respectively. He is the oppressive rational: bullying his wife in order to determine what he feels is best for her. She is the destructive emotional: crippling herself with the guilt, fear, hatred and even love of the things within her world.

    The film also gives us the nature vs artifice allusion: it is human nature to be emotional while rationality is something learned (as in it is not inherent). Christ represents cleanliness (which is nature); To be anti-christ represents uncleanliness and thus the removal of nature; in this sense, as troubling and twisted as Gainsbourg’s character’s actons are, she is the clean one while Dafoe is the Antichrist (or unclean one).

    Her self-mutilation can be interpreted one of two ways in my opinion: her asserting her will and showing her true power; as well as her cutting herself free of man (the unclean, and thus “evil” child of nature).

    Definitely one of the greatest films I have the privilege to watch. I read some reviews infering that the film is utter misogyny. That isn’t so and reveals a complete lack of perspective from the reviewer. The film isn’t misogynist or feminist: it clearly demonstrates how both can be dangerous. She rebelled and lashed out at the man who bullied her into submission; who incessantly stripped away any hope she had mustered. He pushed the woman to the point of barbarism; he isn’t the victim as he purposely lit the matches.

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