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Von Trier interview: Antichrist »a kind of therapy«

New von Trier interview goes behind the controversial film Antichrist

In a recent interview, eccentric Danish film maker Lars Von Trier, the man behind the intense and macabre film Antichrist, revealed that a severe depression drove his creative process while writing the script.

The film was shown at a special screening at the Film House (Filmhuset) on Gothersgade on Friday, as part of a conference held by the Faculty of Humanities’ Department of Media, Cognition and Communication.

Hear the interview as a sound file or read the transcript.

Afterwards, Von Trier took part in a discussion with von Trier expert Peter Schepelern and the audience, during which the fim maker explains that he wrote the film in order to give himself a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

As the man himself put it, with barely disguised irony, »Well, when you make a film, you have to be out of bed, otherwise it’s very complicated, practically.«

Leaked Satan’s role to the press

However, beneath the flippant comment lies the darker reality of the depression that drove Von Trier to create the powerful and, at times, bloody film.

He plummeted into a depression after the producer of the original Antichrist film leaked the ending, that Satan had created mankind, to the press. Von Trier cancelled the film immediately because, it would, according to him, »be like saying: ’The butler did it.’«

Therapeutic process

Von Trier skirts around a number of the questions posed to him, sometimes seeming to deliberately get off track and toy with the interviewer, at one point insisting, »please allow me not to
answer all questions. Because I remember somebody saying that you shouldn’t ask the chicken about the chicken soup.«

In spite of these avoidance tactics, he does also intimate that the film was a form of personal catharsis, saying, »the film is of course also about the therapy that I have gone through myself.«

Chaos reigns

However, the interview leaves no doubt that Von Trier still possesses a sense of humour.

When asked about the symbolism of the talking fox in the film he says, »I cut out a lot of the talking, and there’s just one line left for the fox now. Which is a pity, because the fox really meant what it said.«

For those that have not seen the film, the furry, yet apparently earnest, one-liner was, »Chaos reigns.«