CHAOS REIGNS IN
LARS VON TRIER'S ANTICHRIST
Lars Von Trier does not strike me as the type of man who takes well to the
mocking of his work, no matter how affectionate or good natured. Nature, as we
know, is Satan's church, at least according to the filmmaker's latest, so you
would think he of all people would understand the situation brewing down in
Texas. They say any publicity is good publicity, and word of mouth is spreading
like an Epidemic (with a little e in a circle at the end,) Austin being the
epicenter. Now that Fantastic Fest has wrapped, the infected are traveling
home, to major cities around the world, and I wouldn't be surprised if this
thing goes global. What with the internet, I'm expecting a meme yesterday.
Maybe everyone is still catching up on sleep.
Or maybe it is an insular joke that will not survive outside the confines of
the festival. I was not lucky enough to secure a full festival badge, so I
arrived at the midway point. I cabbed it straight from the airport to the Alamo
Drafthouse to meet my friends. After being introduced to a slew of new
people in a whirlwind of salutations, talk immediately turned to movies. Having
missed the screening, I wanted to know what people thought about
. Immediately, I was assaulted with a chorus of "Chaos
Reigns" from the group of new acquaintances.
For those not in the know, the scene in question involves Willem Defoe, some
super slow motion, and a talking fox. Having already seen and enjoyed Antichrist
(let's just say it has received a DVD release in Poland and leave it at that) I
found the scene to be moderately effective, if not a little silly. But maybe
enjoyed isn't the right word. It is hard to "enjoy" a film containing
the scenes which Antichrist
contains. It is Von Trier's most polished
film since Europa
, and a good reminder of what a technically proficient
director he can be when he wants. It is also a reminder of how capricious he
is. It isn't exactly plot driven, but the elements are there for anyone willing
to piece it together. That crafty little fox is one of them.
In the days that followed, the joke took on a life of its own. Pretty soon,
Mondotees was doing a brisk business on "Chaos Reigns" t-shirts. Any
time something bizarre or unexpected happened in a movie, someone shouted
"Chaos Reigns." There were chants of it during the 100 Best Kills
director and clown-prince of the festival, Nacho
Vigalondo, after pounding a container of XXX Texas Chili declared, "Chaos
reigns in my stomach." I'm pretty sure chaos reigned in the bathroom later
on as well.
The whole thing culminated during the screening of the final film (Daybreakers
if anyone cares.) After being turned away from the rush line a mere inches from
the door, my friends and I sat down amongst the sulking nerds to plot our next
move. Suddenly, a portly gentleman in black bikini briefs with a little tail
sauntered by. He wore furry ears and painted on whiskers and was accompanied by
a man wearing a kind of black death bird mask and cape. I didn't think much of
it; there was also an Asian film playing and I figured it was some sort of
Japanese Tanuki madness. It wasn't until the duo reappeared and started mugging
for cameras, growling "Chaos Reigns" that it dawned on me.
Later on, someone who was at the screening filled us in. In lieu of a short, it
was announced that some very special guests had arrived from a film that had
already played, and they wanted to address the audience. The fox and the crow
then proceeded to lead the audience in a rousing chant of "Chaos
Reigns" while running up and down the aisles high-fiving everything in
their path. It lasted a good 10 minutes.
If I were Von Trier, I would embrace this. Cute plush foxes that say Chaos
Reigns when you pull the string would be a great promotional item. Rope 'em in
with the cuteness, then hit 'em with the genital mutilation. If that doesn't
work, he can always try distributing ball-smashing hammers and clit scissors.
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