Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Antichrist at the Vancity Theatre

Antichrist opens later this week at the Vancity Theatre, brilliantly double-billed with Day Of Wrath. I simply need to see both these films on the screen. I have seen the Dreyer, about the persecution of an old woman as a witch, before; I have no way of knowing beforehand whether I will enjoy the experience of watching Antichrist, but I've found things to admire in every Lars von Trier film I've seen. As perverse and maddening as he can sometimes be, he is certainly one of the few larger-than-life auteurs that I'm aware of at work in cinema today, and many of his works (Zentropa, the original Kingdom TV series, and Dogville especially) I love deeply. The fact that this is a relatively large production starring two fine actors (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg), dealing with very ambitious themes (apparently death, grief, guilt, sex, misogyny, and violence), that it is nonetheless being described as a horror film, and that it has been praised for both the beauty and surreal impact of its images is more than enough to pique my curiosity - to say nothing of the astonishing image used to promote it (above). The controversy around the so-called "sexual violence" in the film - both male and female genitalia are wounded, I gather - neither disturbs nor interests me much, but I have nothing against boundary-pushing cinema (provided there is a certain seriousness to it - I'm not talkin' Cinema Sewer, here). Plus a friend of mine who is a fellow admirer of serious cinema - it was our mutual admiration for Ingmar Bergman that united us initially - has praised it, as has another friend who knows his horror, cult and exploitation fare; I would be very surprised NOT to be impressed by this movie, given all the above. I missed the VIFF screenings, couldn't make it to its too-short run at the Ridge, and an attempt to hail the director for an online interview predictably bore no fruit, so there's no way I can offer anything more than this to generate interest - which I would like to do, because I would like to see the still criminally-underattended Vancity Theatre flourish and because I'd like to encourage more people to see REAL CINEMA as opposed to Hollywood bullshit, that I might feel less alone in the world... It saddens me to think that the Friday show I plan to attend may be just as poorly-attended as Peter Watkins' astonishing Punishment Park was, last week (I counted seven other attendees, including the cinephile who'd come with me, the night I was there).

Then again, odds are that if there's only a handful of attendees, I won't have to be distracted by rustlings, coughs, feet thrust over seat-backs, whispered conversations, people kicking the back of my seat, inappropriate laughter, ringing cellphones, and assholes sending text messages in the theatre and such. In fact, fuckit, just stay home, you're probably not worthy of this film anyhow, you crass heathen brutes. Only come if you think you're aesthetically developed enough, okay? I have my doubts, but maybe y'all will surprise me. Try to comport yourselves like civilized people, tho', if you do show up: remember that some of us are there to receive communion.
There's a too-detailed, spoiler-ridden synopsis of the film on Wikipedia for those still unconvinced. I am so glad that this film is returning to the screen in Vancouver - I honestly thought I'd missed my chance to see it properly, projected. Thanks, Vancity Theatre! I'll be there, at least, and... I'll bring a friend!

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