I don't normally pay too much attention to the Cannes film festival. I'm glad that Up is getting even more positive advance word and I'm looking forward to it. I'm mildly concerned that Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds is getting such mixed reviews. I'm also not pleased to hear most of the movie is going to be subtitled. Perhaps it works fine, but you don't normally go and see a Tarantino film because of the acting and the big action scenes. You go for the fun dialogue. If most of the actors are speaking in French, German and whatever, and the English is subtitled, well, maybe that works, but I have a right to be worried about it.
But the movie that seems to have made the most noise out of there was Lars Von Trier's Antichrist. If you want to get an idea of what the movie is about, read Roger Ebert's reaction to it here and here. Now, I'm not a professional movie critic. Even during my days with The Muse and The Express I considered myself a movie reviewer at best. What's the difference? I consider a movie critic to have a more formal education. It's possible they've studied cinema in university and can speak with historical context and could write scholarly articles on a movie if they so choose.
Movie reviewers are pretty much anyone who wants to blather on at length about a movie. I was fortunate that two newspapers wanted to print my blatherings, giving me an air of legitimacy. But feel free to swing by Rotten Tomaotes to get an idea of what I'm talking about. There are far more reviewers than critics.
So when Ebert defends Von Trier as an important cinematic voice, I honestly do try to give him the benefit of a doubt, because I respect Ebert's opinion very highly. However, the occasions where I have seen Von Trier's movies, such as Dancer in the dark and Dogville I would view it as self-indulgent wankery of the highest order.
So why bring all of this up? Because there's a line in this story, talking about the controversy over the movie, that cracked me up. This is a movie that features:
1. Actress Charlotte Gainsbourg half naked for most of the movie and is shot masturbating on a forest floor.
2. Tortures the character played by Willem Dafoe, including "bashing his genitals with a wooden plank."
3. Oh, and there's another scene where Gainsbourg character "masturbates Dafoe to bring him to a bloody climax before drilling through his leg and bolting it to a millstone."
And there's more, but let's not get too graphic here.
Anyway, when asked the film's producer said they would be releasing a more "Catholic" version of the movie in the US. I assume that means tamer than what was shown at Cannes. And the reason why?
"Otherwise it would be impossible to sell (it) to prudish markets like southern Europe, Asia and the United States, where you can't show a naked man from the front."
And that's about the only way that movie is ever going to get a laugh from me. That statement right there.
I would hardly consider myself prudish. And I have a reasonable decent tolerance level for violence (to quote the wise sage, Bart Simpson, "Lisa, is you don't watch the violence you'll never become desensitized to it.") And I appreciate a good indy movie, when I get the chance to see one. Furthermore, I have no problem watching frontal male nudity, which is hardly shocking in the US anymore. Forgetting Sarah Marshall is one of several recent movies that have had frontal male nudity.
So I think, I think, the reasons why you would have to put a gun to my head to make me watch this movie might lie elsewhere. It could be the male genital whacking, possibly the bit with the drill. It might have to do with all the ponderous christian symbolism that's slathered all over the movie. I'm not sure, but I think that's the point where the movie lost me, not so much Dafoe's dangling man bits.
I shouldn't be too worried, though. I rather doubt this movie will be coming to Iqaluit any time soon. Thank god for small mercies. Still, for the rest of you have been forewarned if it should arrive at your theatre.
1. Tell me lies - Fleetwood Mac*
2. What will we do - The Flash Girls
3. Roosterspur bridge - Tori Amos
4. Within your reach - The Replacements
5. Surprise - Sean Panting