"You either love him/her/it or you hate him/her/it."
A phrase that gets bandied around a lot, probably more than is accurate. But one guy who it appears to be absolutely true for is Danish director/writer Lars von Trier. Rarely do I hear people so passionate about someone or thing on one side or the other. Trier openly courts extremely controversial subjects with thoughtful, visually striking films that speak powerfully to some, and seem to violently antagonize others. I've seen theatrical lobby discussions after "Breaking the Waves", "Dancer in the Dark" and especially "Dogville" take a turn for the ugly.
The director has said, “a film should be like a stone in your shoe” and artistically speaking, I can't contradict him. It's a shame that von Trier will never be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of a Star Trek movie marathon though or the meaningless laughs of "Clerks" or even the B-movie tits & tires testosterone fun of "Fast & Furious". I feel for him. I'm glad he's so tortured that he keeps making these disturbing and gorgeous stories that seem to be generally about why people suck, but I'm equally glad I'm not him.
Trier isn't really known for messing about with genre films. The last film from him that would qualify was his 1991 attention getter Zentropa/Europa and even then, calling it a genre film is a stretch. Which is why I found myself so surprised by his new film.
The trailer for his new horror film "Antichrist" appropriately enough begins with a sequence that immediately recalls the running theme of hypnotism in Zentropa/Europa and then turns into what looks like one seriously messed up and terrifying mind fuck of a film. It's a surprise that von Trier would head off in such a specific territory, but his has been a history of surprises and it's not the first time he futzed about with the world of horror. His stunning 1994 Danish TV series "The Kingdom" (don't judge it by the mediocre American remake, please) was a ghost story that was smart and frightening. I can only imagine what he's going to do with a decent budget and stars like William Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Check out this trailer:
That shit freaks me out. Horror with supernatural themes always gets under my skin (despite my real world skeptical nature). Count me in on the 'love him' list. I can hardly wait to get this stone trapped under my gel odor-eater inserts.