Lars von Trier’s Antichrist is an unsettling film for many reasons. It will be discussed in depth for its more obvious unsettling traits such as its intense graphic violence and self-mutilation and lack of a clear message especially with regard to gender relationships and the nature of evil. Some of these traits, such as the horror imagery, settings and plot-devices may seem unique within
Antichrist is a two-header centring around the grief of a married couple (Charlotte Gainsborough and Willem Dafoe) after the loss of their young son during the film’s prologue. The majority of the film depicts the two main actors whilst they try to come to terms with the loss and confront the wife’s fears about their holiday cottage in the woods,
At the recent Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Images annual meeting in
The effect of an Anti Cut on the viewer is cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance comes about when a person holds two (or more) conflicting concepts in their mind at the same time. The experience of cognitive dissonance is unpleasant. We endeavour to find order in our experiences and ideas and when conflicting concepts cannot be resolved we are uncertain how to act. If these concepts come from two different sensory modalities the brain tries to reconcile the two sources and come up with an amalgamation. A classic example of this is the Mc Gurk Effect (see video below). The McGurk effect is a demonstration of how we did not evolve to process our senses in isolation. When watching someone say a word our perception of the sounds they make is informed by both the audio and way their lips mouth the word. If these two sources are in conflict e.g. the mouth says “ba” but the audio track says “ga”, we perceive something in between, e.g. “da” . This demonstrates how sensory perception is multimodal and the brain will endeavour to resolve cognitive dissonance even if it means distorting reality and creating an illusory perception.
In the case of
As always, Lars Von Trier is pushing the boundaries or editing in order to experiment with our perception of film. As a film viewer I adore