When the BBFC let unsimulated sex pass uncut without giving it an 18R (porn) rating; There's a good chance you're dealing with an art film.
When a continental European sounding name precedes a movie title; There's a good chance you're dealing with an art film.
If a film made this side of 1965 is filmed (or partly filmed) in black and white; There's a good chance you're dealing with an art film.
If a movie opens with a slow motion prologue; There's a good chance you're dealing with an art film.
I'm not a fan of art films, so the fist three minuets of "Lars von Trier's: Antichrist" were enough for me to know I was in trouble...
Now, I don't mind when a film leaves something to the imagination, and I don't mind so much when an ending is a little ambiguous, letting different people take away different things from it. What I do not like is when the entire script is seemingly designed to let the viewer decide what the film is actually about.
God damn you movie; your ONE JOB is to tell me a story!
Now, I know that the story is about a couple who lost their child (a toddler, who escapes his crib, opens a baby gate, then jumps out of a window while his parents are engaged in the aforementioned slo-mo monochrome sex), and I know that She (I will refer to the mother as "Her" or "She" as she is unnamed through the movie) was at some point writing a theses about Gynocide (Anti-women stuff basically) but (we find out) gave up on it when her research suggested to her that women deserve to be underdogs. I also know that she is not dealing well with the death off her son, so He (again, her husband is without moniker), being a therapist takes it upon himself to counsel her, so off they go to Eden (which is a woods, in which they have a summer cabin) to analyse her fears.
You might think that her "realization" (the film does seem to imply that shes wrong about this) that women are evil might have something to do with her grief issues, and you'd be right; we also find out later in the film that she has much more specific feelings of guilt.All of this, however, is pretty much an aside, to an hour and a half of interestingly shot (mostly with hand-held cameras) nonsensical pretentious bollocks... with great sound design.
Most of what follows could probably be accounted for by saying that grief had driven Her mad; but for the fact that He is prone to hearing animals speak too...
Is nature evil? is nature punishing Her for the death of her son? is there some supernatural force in the woods feeding on her guilt? We never find out.
Instead we have endless scenes of Her being (alternately) scared, violent and horny. climaxing when she knocks Him out and fastens a grindstone through his leg, having decided that he is going to leave her.
Then she mutilates herself in, one of the most graphic, nasty, realistic methods I have ever seen on film.
Which brings us to the point of this review, and indeed, the reason we chose this film; How on earth did the BBFC pass this uncut? More to the point having passed it, how can they ever justify cutting anything simulated, ever again?
There are 2 scenes in particular in this movie; one where She does something to Him, and one where She mutilates herself, which are (respectively) as bad as, and worse than ANYTHING in any of the video nastiest, some of which are still banned or cut to this day.
SPOILERS FOLLOW - BY NOW YOU HAVE THE GIST; HERE I GET SPECIFIC:
1. Having hit Him in the genitals with a plank so hard that he passes out with pain, she then Proceeds to masturbates Him (its a real had-job on a real cock) until he ejaculates blood. - the biology of this aside (for one thing, you planked my junk hard enough top knock me out, I'm guessing I'd probably loose my erection) that's some fucked up shit.
2. (this is the kicker) In extreme close up, she spreads her vagina (which looks real enough to me) and (again, close up and looking real) cuts off her clitoris with a large pair of scissors!!!!
WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. FUCK.
Don't get me wrong... I think passing it 18 was the right move; it's simulated, no-one got hurt, let adults watch what they want, buy surely this sets some kind of precedent for what we are now allowed to see in an 18 rated movie?
You'd think so, but the same people who passed this, made them removed a shot of a barbed wire wrapped penis and some poop splatters from Human Centipede 2.
This movie was selected to show how far the BBFC had come - instead, it has reminded me how uneven and imperfect the system still is.
I have marked this "Avoid" - but not because of the "gross factor", simply because it was a dull movie.