Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Antichrist 2009

Hamlet:
"Sblood, do you think I am
easier to be played on than a pipe?"

Bowing to the inevitable I sat down to watch Antichrist 2009 today.

It's unfair to demean it as a horror movie, as some are calling it, or to interpret and seek "meanings" in a work of such brimming  elemental energy.

Others have called it an expression of great despair. To call it despairing also seems off the mark since it celebrates the vastness of the human being's innerscape caught in a particularly stormy mood. Vastness of that which goes by the name life itself rather than vastness of despair is the point, and life's characteristic of ricochetting, often instantaneously, from extreme to extreme, just as the child and its mannikin descend to death like  snow-flakes, triggering what ensues. Surely the image of the child as it embraces the void in falling snow in rapt wonder is one to treasure.

 One can take or leave the controversial sections of the film according to one's inclination. The eroticism is depicted with sensitivity  and has more of sculpture and form than sensuality.

The brutality is a true portrayal of our animal potential which all our learning and Ph.ds can scarcely scratch. It's no worse than the routinised and bureaucratised horrors which are the staple of our recent past and the medias bread and butter. At least the  scene of drilling His leg was less shocking than made out.

 A work of art is either authentic or fake, and this one is not fake. Like every authentic drama or film it holds a mirror unto us. He and She as well as the sombre wilderness with its animal cries and whispers is no other but Us, our very own unknown selves. We ourselves are Christ and Antichrist.

As a Buddhist scripture states, all the 84,000 volumes of sutras and teachings ( one could add the great movies and literature) are the diaries of one's own life.Otherwise what interest could they possibly hold?  This is what one may call the Copernican view of the inner cosmos which all human beings inherit in like measure. The large volumes and the open spaces in which the drama of the movie is played out correspond to such a conception of Man. Jung would agree.

For myself, I was held in rapt attention throughout. The prologue is heart rending, a cinematic lyric on procreation, nature, childhood and death. It is a highly memorable piece of cinema. Handels music used as a score is perfectly appropriate as a paeon to the awsomeness of existence as encapsulated in this brief sequence.


The violence and explicitness in the film nowhere descends to a level of cheapness or sensationalism. The director has tried to capture his vision of  a dimension of life, its repertoires of joy and pain stretching towards a no man's land. Like Hamlet's last four words: ".....the rest is silence."

Physicists in the late nineteenth century used to worry that their field of work had reached a point of saturation. Their fears proved groundless and present day reaearchers have no such worry. Our own lives also  have something of the infinite, and art of which cinema is the century's most potent incarnation waits with wonders never to end-- a mirror of societies, a chisel to sculpt the unborn future.

 It's  fractals all the way down.

3 comments:

claude said...

"The violence and explicitness in the film nowhere descends to a level of cheapness or sensationalism"
Really?
Probably you've seen the movie that you've expected to see and not the actual last 30 minutes of "Antichrist"

S. M. Rana said...

At least we both found something nice in the opening sequence. The child is particularly nice. On the whole, more than any religious significance, it struck me as having captured raw nature’s essentially carnivorous quality, which is a part of human nature, side by side with all positive potentials. Maybe I’ll see the last half hour again but my impression was that there was more than sorditity for it’s sordity’s sake.

Gaurav said...

It is a sordid movie, a movie that goes nowhere. The only objective that it has is to shock people or conjure up a wide variety of images with no coherence to them. There have been many who have read too much symbolism and attributed too much depth to this film which is essentially a glorified depiction of a stream of random, violent images