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Dark Like Blood

Antichrist

"Dreams are of no interest to modern psychology. Freud is dead, isn't he?"
Lars Von Trier's Antichrist (2009)

 

Points of Reflection

Lars von Trier's Antichrist (2009)

1. why might Lars von Trier have refused to grant his two primary character names?

2. notice the trio of statuettes on the den desk with no discernible facial features, across the bases of which are written Pain, Grief, and Despair (2:48).  Are these three concepts discrete entities, across this film, or close cousins?

3. does the type of “exposure” therapy advocated by the husband appear to work with his wife?

4. does the husband/father successfully love his wife over the course of her grieving process? What definition of love informs your thoughts on this matter?

5. does the type of “exposure” therapy advocated by the husband appear to work with his wife?

6. why does the husband say that making love to his wife—right after finding her engaged in self-destructive behavior—was a stupid decision?

7. does the husband’s early claim that “what the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve (33) find support in the rest of the film?

8. does Nature in this film appear more beneficent than hostile to humankind?

9. the husband attempts to map his wife’s fears using a pyramid chart, modifying it as he learns more about her condition.  Is his final conclusion about what she fears most correct?

10. does the film support the notion that the wife/mother consciously injured her son, Nic?

11. does this film cast men and women as equally capable of evil towards one another, or does it cast one sex as more frequently victimized than the other?

12. are the husband’s strange visions in the woods the function of a wild imagination, or are they traceable to phenomena in the real world?

13. was the wife/mother aware of what was happening, as it happened, in the film’s opening, tragic event?

14. notice the trio of statuettes on the den desk with no discernible facial features, across the bases of which are written Pain, Grief, and Despair (2:48).  Are these three concepts discrete entities, across this film, or close cousins?

15. do you consider this film to be misogynist in any way?

16. in a series of interviews conducted with Stig Björkman in the late 90’s, Lars reflected on the impact of his phobias on his craft, claiming that, “a phobia or an anxiety of this sort is that it isn’t creative. You don’t get anything out of it. You ought to be able to turn the anxiety into something else, because there’s a fair amount of energy in it. But it just creates apathy instead . . . The phobias that I suffer from can obviously be used to my advantage sometimes. A person who’s afraid of the dark will probably make a better horror film. But mostly phobias just make you uncomfortable”” (Björkman 39).  Do Lars’s own phobias and anxieties in some way enrich the film Antichrist, or do they appear to overwhelm it?


Mannequin (1926-27)
"Gala Nude Seen from Behind" (1960)
oil on canvas
Salvador Dalí



Dr. Paul Marchbanks
pmarchba@calpoly.edu