Lars von Trier is such a fascinating and unique director who can really fashion some gorgeous films. (Check them out on Criterion - breathtaking!) He's also proven himself to be quite a capable and brainy logician (magician?) in film, picking apart conventions and toying with both the obvious and latent elements of the cinema to produce complex emotional, political and philosophical experiences (reason enough for a few to hate his work, but I find it intriguing and undeniably artistic). His works associated with the Dogme 95 avant-garde process/movement (though only one is actually part) are tougher to swallow because their confrontation or total disuse of traditional effects of film, like props or artificial lighting or even a score/soundtrack, can be sort of distracting, but I believe von Trier when he says that it's all in the service of the story and performances. If I'm getting frustrated with "Dancer in the Dark"'s insistence on only using incidental music, even for the musical numbers, then I can only imagine how frustrated Bjork must've gotten as actor and composer. But, I confess, all of the story, Bjork's work in the film (which was recognized as the best at Cannes that year; see my earlier post about characters) and the soundtrack were haunting and unforgettable.

Speaking of haunting, von Trier is set and ready to release his next exercise in toying with us and our expectations with "Anti-Christ" which has a feel like "Rosemary's Baby" but in the woods; complete with hallucinatory, satanic images of the body and things associated with children, and craven wolves. It all looks intoxicating, but unsettling, with the classic metaphor of child as bringer of doom or spiritual decay taken (wee wee wee) all the way home. Of course, it's even freakier because the child in question has passed away - nothing spoiled, no worries - and the descent is all based on the intent for emotional and spiritual healing for the couple. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg are two able and evocative actors and perfect to embody these perhaps Catholic themes and motifs. Trailer below with the premise to follow. Maybe this'll be the first part in a new trilogy for von Trier?

Premise, via Slashfilm: "a horrific drama that tells the story of a grieving couple who retreat to a cabin in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage..." [SPOILERS BEGIN] ...only to find that the cabin is the home of the Devil himself and the place he resides while running the world. [SPOILERS END] Does it strike anyone else as weird that the title card has the symbol for females and, I'm guessing, the child in the film was probably a male? Does this suggest what will be occurring in the woods, or is this a mistake on the part of the studio?

Is this deliciously disturbing to your eyes? Or just disturbing?

TRAILER exclusive through: Ain't It Cool

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