Director defiant after "Antichrist" jeered

Mon May 18, 2009 8:51am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

CANNES, France (Reuters) - Danish director Lars von Trier made no excuses on Monday for his controversial film "Antichrist", which shocked audiences at the Cannes film festival for its graphic sex and violence.

The film is one of 20 in the main competition, and during a press screening on Sunday there was derisive laughter at key moments, along with gasps of disbelief at scenes of genital mutilation and boos as the credits rolled.

The film stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a couple seeking to overcome the grief of losing their son, and, while generally unpopular, has become the most talked-about entry in this year's festival which ends on May 24.

"I don't think I have to justify it," the 53-year-old film maker told a news conference, when asked by an angry reporter why he had made the movie.

"I make films and enjoyed it very much. I think it is a very strange question that I have to excuse myself. I haven't done it for you or an audience so I don't think I owe anyone an explanation," he said.

"I'm not trying to say anything ... This is more like a dream put into a film," he said, adding later in the briefing: "This is a very dark dream about guilt and sex and stuff."

In production notes handed out in Cannes, von Trier called Antichrist "the most important film of my entire career."

JEERS AND CHEERS   Continued...

<p>Director Lars Von Trier (C) poses with cast members Charlotte Gainsbourg (R) and Willem Dafoe (L) during a photocall for the film "Antichrist" at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 18, 2009. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau</p>