Senior Editor
05.18.09 22 Comments

Lars von Trier’s AntiChrist has been the talk of Cannes, and not in a good way. Said Roger Ebert, “Von Trier is not so much making a film about violence as making a film to inflict violence upon us… This is the most despairing film I’ve ever have seen.”   Jeff Wells called it “a fartbomb,” and he wasn’t the only one comparing it to a fart in the first line of his review.  Some reviewers liked it, but most of their praise was along the lines of “I think I liked it,” which in movie critic parlance roughly translates to, “It really tapped into my pretentiousness and self-hate!”  Anyway, the polarized reactions led to quite the scene at the press conference.

Declaring himself “the world’s greatest director,” 53-year-old Dane Lars von Trier defended his enfant terrible title with aplomb.  It started with a shouting match between Daily Mail columnist Baz Bamigboye and other members of the press corps, with Bamigboye demanding von Trier “explain and justify” the explicit sexual gore in his film and another journo in the audience yelling “He’s an artist, you’re not. He doesn’t have to explain anything!”

Uh oh, are the film critics going to fight?  We’re gonna need a bigger inhaler…

“I don’t have to explain anything. You are all my guests here, not the other way round,” von Trier said. “Anyway, I don’t think about the audience when I make a film. I don’t care. I make films for myself.”

Von Trier did defend his use of nausea-inducing imagery — including a bloody masturbation scene and a leg-drilling sequence that could have been cribbed from the “Saw” franchise — as artistic “honesty,” saying to leave the shockers out would have been “like lying.”

He also insisted he was not playing a joke on the audience but meant everything, from the film’s talking fox to the closing dedication to Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, a dedication that drew howls of laughter at last night’s press screening, to be taken seriously. [via Hollywood Reporter]

If you skim read those last three paragraphs and sort of blur them together, you get a talking fox singing “Be Our Guest” while Lars von Trier ejaculates blood.  I’d watch that.

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