The following article was published in N-SPHERE October 2009 issue.


Lars von Trier has never been a pleasant director to encounter. His films are, in most of the cases, harsh and unforgiving – you may like them, or may hate them, but they never leave you alone. Consider “Breaking the Waves”, for example, or the second half of the thinner “Dancer in the Dark”, or the ending of “Dogville”.

“Antichrist”, from this point of view, is no different, quite on the contrary, it is maybe be the most disturbing film Lars von Trier has ever made and to me one of his best. It is a film that declares itself, doesn’t hide behind corny marketing strategy to make its darker aspects more “like–able” (spelled “bankable”). It is violent, because the subject of matter makes the film that way. And after dozens of silicone films that basically glorified the “Lego” violence and shock for shock value purposes only (“Saw” is a fairly good example in this case), it might be good to have a movie that is disturbingly violent, that scares the public away instead of gaining its applauses and yet to have something more to offer.

And this goes on two grounds: violence should not be pretty, horrific images should not be pretty, they should not be like–able, “cool” or whatever else. In other words, it should not lead to a crowd–pleaser number. In the likes of “Saw” or of many action films, violence is synthetic. Predictable. Sexy. People want it, they crave for it, it is no longer that disturbing thing, it is an aphrodisiac. On the other hand, in “Antichrist” its violence makes people find the film repulsive, prevents a certain mass from liking the film. Which, contrary to some opinions, is not bad. Art is not for li(c)king, the pop silicone robots are for that, but that can barely be considered art now, can it? You don’t have to like a film to fully appreciate it. I didn’t like “Im einem Jahr mit 13 Monden” (R.W.Fassbinder), but the film is still one of my all–time favorites.

Going back to our starting point, I also said that it is good to see some movies, that – along violence – can carry additional meaningful packages. Antichrist is one of them. Again, many people will disagree with me here, but that is not of any relevance.

The film opens with a visually stunning love scene enframed in Handel’s “Lascia ch’io pianga’ from �Rinaldo”. This scene reminded me of Tarkovsky (as some others in the film did), only that the register is clearly different. The protagonists are He, She and their child. While He and She make love, their sleepwalking child heads towards the opened window and jumps. This unfortunate event leaves the female protagonist emotionally devastated. After a hospitalization routine, the husband (He), decides that she is given too much medication, and that he can work his way better around her emotional state.

Before moving forward, I like to remind you that the film is entitled “Antichrist” and so far there were no in–your–face religious send–ups and I underline “in–your–face”. The film’s opening however is pretty evocative from this point of view, considering to aspects/references. On the one hand we have the sleepwalking child as a reference. He is a reference because of the way he died and because of the director’s choice of depicting the circumstances. The music is and mood generally are heavenly. We have a sex scene that is not rude, vulgar, but on the contrary poetic, stunning, hypnotic. Yet attached to it, we have a child’s death. A child that is depicted as well in heavenly tones. It is as if he is himself mesmerized rather than sleepwalking, he walks towards that open window without ever feeling the incoming danger of falling, he is smiling, even his fall looks like it is a part from a fairytale. Before falling from Grace, Man had been depicted in the same colors. The Biblical fall of Man is no different that the fall of this child. They both plunged fearlessly and unconsciously into the fathomless depths. The only difference is that the boy was not alone in Paradise, he was with two people that were already fallen, henceforth we may call this paradise artificial. The next scene is filmed from his point of view, as well. We look at the grieving couple – the rest are irrelevant and this is suggested by their lurred faces – from his coffin. We can hear it moving. The woman collapses.

Their trip to Eden is marked by two stylistic layers. One that is again harsh, rudimentary and another that is stunning only that this time heads toward a more gothic/horror approach. Plot wise, things move from a realistic framework, into an allegorical one. As their journey progresses, the characters start revealing who they really are. The tone of the film is more despairing and yet more menacing, until its shattering conclusion (which I won’t reveal).

Eden was not the heavenly one – it might have been their final haven which had already started to decompose. Her fears regarding the woods, may be her fears regarding the obscure. We fear what we really might be.

There were many complaints regarding the misogynist character of the film. I could not say that, it is not. The physical violence she employs mirrors his violent speeches, his violent approach.

There were many complaints also regarding the above mentioned violence. Yet, it is a violent film, yes it may strike some viewers as being unbearable, but a film is a film. You can always look to see what is beyond and frankly speaking, a hole drilled to one leg after which an iron bar is pushed though it, someone literally cutting her clitoris off and so forth, you cannot see those that often in real life life now, can you? Which means there is more room to interpret.

The characters there are not inspired nor are they supposed to copy real characters – that is why the director did not give them names. The violence there occurred in a space that may not be real, may be – as Roger Ebert suggested – a mirror world. The damage they do to one another, henceforth, is not physical, but it is depicted like that. There is a stench of decay following the film, there is a paradise placed in the opposite pole. One may go as far as to say that those are not real people. Just fractions of energy encapsulated in matter, a point of view to which I may subscribe myself. If you are to look at the dialogues you can see what I mean. There is not a single line that is coherent, meaningful and soulful at the same time. Those that are coherent are cold and distant, mere statements, and the rest are just yells and moans or other things completely irrelevant. There is a desire to control riding along the way, his desire to control her. Like animals. The predators want to rule over the prey, but in the end this desire sinks into the same muddy grounds as the rest. Our illusion that we may have power over others, or that we may interfere and em–process will over them – even by thinking that we “help” them – leads us to a road to perdition and we end up being the prey.

There is another film that took a part of the same path, but in a different manner – less religious – a film in which the need was not only to possess, but to be possessed as well, possessed by our own idealized projections, a course that will lead eventually to the same dead end. The film was called “Possession” (1982) and was directed by Andrej Zulawsky.

All in all I cannot praise the movie to the skies, because that is not the point, nor will I give it a star rating because I find it pointless and stupid. The film is a complex and multi–layered environment, leaving there plenty of room for everyone and for everything. It is not about making a point as it is about how you make your point. A good review may not make the movie good, as a bad review won’t make it bad. There may not be a bad or a good film. Images worked better on the mind than words. An image can reveal a lot. Whether this film is art or garbage pretending to be art, this is not of my interest to say. Some of you may love it, others may despise it deeply, but few may walk indifferently. And if we are to rule out popcorn prizes and showbiz circus those very reactions are what is left. The mere fact that those reactions are strong means something and since we are not talking about a no budget film, but about a film that is visually stunning, I can assume that we rule out pure luck as well. For those who do not have taste for the more gruesome stuff, however, avoiding it may be a healthy advice. For those who seek a clear message, or a good old conventional plot, again maybe not seeing it will be the right thing to do since nobody wants people – on mass – complaining that they want their ninetysomething minutes back.

I, for one, have seen it twice and I don’t regret it. I was not appalled, nor was I deeply shocked because I knew von Trier and I watched the film mostly for its technical layer and since I was there I decided to see if I can make something out of it. I won’t stop at praising the performances because I am not interested in them – asides appreciating the actors’ dedication to the project – I just tried to see what the broadest view is and plunged right in. Did I like it? I don’t care. Robert Musil once said that he can sustain two diametrically opposed affirmations and prove that he is both right. It is a matter of context and language. I may also say that, when it comes to Lars von Trier I can write two diametrically opposed reviews and prove my point in both of them. But aside all these details, I appreciated the film, in spite my own original mixed reactions towards it. Getting to know a film is like getting to know someone. You don’t just stop at the things that appall you or at those that impress you, it is more like a ride of your own around the material. Otherwise – at least for me – it’s no “fun”. In the end there are some things I take, things that stay with me, and things that get lost along the way. I find it perfectly natural to be so.

If you can do that as well, you may give this film a try, see what you can come up with. If you are into cinema, cinematic languages and things alike, you may not regret seeing it. If not, stick to something else, something that suits you better, this Eden call may be for you.

Movie still: Antichrist.

review by Shade

Full article here.



The following article was published in N-SPHERE October 2009 issue.


Name: As Aranhas [Die Spinnen]

Location: Lisboa, Portugal

Occupation: Strolling artist.

Definition of personal sphere: A world of chimaeras. Smells like mold. It’s the smell of the world of the chimaeras.

Artwork in 4 words: Claws; kaosz; voracious; kataklizma.

What is inspirational for you: Expressionism; Soviet avant-garde.

Currently favourite artists: João César Monteiro; Fritz Lang; Anita Berber; Sergej Eisenstein; Emir Kusturica; György Ligeti; Michael Nyman; Alfred Schnittke; Fanfare Ciocarlia; Marina Abramovic.

Tools of trade: CCCP kameras.

Current obsessions: Dra.meretriz (la dr.putain)

Personal temptation: Menstruation.

Artwork: Quinta Essentia – Cuntessence


Full article here.

2 AM


The following article was published in N-SPHERE October 2009 issue.


It rains, it pours. There was a time when I could tap into the circling tears of saints and angels. Now I can only think of the liquid insinuation below my poor broken excuse of a window.

There was a time when my ghostly companion could play the lights of the sky, steal the grotesque thunders off the clouds’ perverted and perverse game board. The ticking on the concrete outside graciously and sadistically traps our thoughts in its claws, eavesdropping on our intimacy.

“Do you have a light?”

“Why do you need it? Have a cigarette. You can’t have a smoke without even a remote idea of a flame. And toast with me in the pale spotlights. For better times and worst memories.”

“Thank you. I’d better run along now. I will see you at the next round of the high and mighty’s uncontrolled game.”

Rewrite the history my friend, if it suits your purpose on this realm.

It rained, it poured.



by Bahak B

artwork by Vel Thora

Full article here.