Thursday, 16 July 2009


My first Von Trier film, and if I'm dedicated enough not my last, but let's say certainly not an auspicious beginning. Mark Peranson's article is, as far as this film is concerned, completely justified. Slow-motion winds in ferns does not Tarkovsky make.
It's a distant cousin of Dreyer's Day of Wrath, with a similar line of argument: it is the internalization of the male view of female evil that forces women to become evil (references to middle age torture practices ground the reference to Dreyer). In Dreyer, it is religious dogmatism that drives women towards witchcraft, in Antichrist it is male psychoanalysis of female sexuality. But whereas, in Day of Wrath, the witches seize on the only tool left available to them for emancipation (which is also sexual, and takes place in an ambiguously luxurious natural setting, cf. Gilberto Perez), in Antichrist Charlotte Gainsbourg's liberty is never even hinted at: she exists merely as a symptom. Her husband's control over her psyche (harmful dramatically as well as thematically: even if one accepts the dubious premise, seeing him getting everything about his wife right untoil the final gore-filled twenty minutes is somewhat tedious), however sincerely helpful, may make her into a beast. But where is the streak of resistance in her acts that makes Dreyer's witches so morally compelling?

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Let me not to the marriage of true minds...

One aspect of Zabriskie point that strikes me as truly optimistic, especially in Antonioni's overall body of work, is its utopian union, however temporary, of the two main strands of counter-culture and political protest in late 60s early 70s US: the pacifist hippies and the more violent protesters, such as the Weathermen and the Black Panthers. Though it is never completely certain that Mark has indeed shot the policeman, it seems certain, especially when another policeman shows up in the desert, that he would be ready to do so. Daria refuses such tactics. But despite such divergences, the two can choose to unite.

Maybe, therefore, the final explosion corresponds to Daria's taking upon herself the violent methods of Mark, since he now cannot?

And maybe it's significant that her explosion is directed not against the police but against big business.