Written and directed by Lars von Trier, one of the most influential and provocative filmmakers working today, Antichrist (2009), tells a story of parental loss, mourning and despair that result from the tragic death of a child.
When the film screened at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, it split audiences down the middle. Some attacked von Trier for misogyny (amongst other things), while others defended him for creating a daring and poetic portrait of grief and separation.
Dense, shocking, and thought-provoking, Antichrist is a film which calls for careful analysis and in her Devil’s Advocate on the film Amy Simmons follows an account of the film’s making with an in-depth consideration of the themes and issues arising from it – the ambiguous depiction of the natural world, the shifting gender power relations, its reflections on Christianity and the limitations of rationality. At the film’s heart, says the author, is a heartbreaking depiction of grief-stricken parents, a confounding interplay between psychology and psychosis, misogyny, and empowerment.