May 21, 2009 / 5:48 AM / 9 years ago

Lars von Trier's "Antichrist" lands at IFC

CANNES, France (Hollywood Reporter) - IFC Films is getting into business with the Antichrist.

Cast members Willem Dafoe (R) and Charlotte Gainsbourg pose during a photocall for the film "Antichrist" by Director Lars Von Trier at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 18, 2009. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Just several hours after announcing it would distribute Ken Loach’s soccer-star comedy “Looking for Eric,” the Rainbow Media-owned distributor said that it had picked up Lars von Trier’s “Antichrist,” a controversial relationship-cum-torture-porn movie starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

“Since it premiered at Cannes on Monday, we haven’t been able to stop talking or thinking about ‘Antichrist,’ “ IFC Entertainment president Jonathan Sehring said.

The movie has indeed been one of the most talked-about of the festival. Some felt bad-boy Danish auteur von Trier had stepped over the line with a series of bracing scenes in which a grieving couple bloodily brutalize each other at their country cabin.

At a press conference earlier in the week, von Trier refused to answer reporters’ questions seeking explanation for his artistic choices.

The film’s marketplace potential remains to be seen. The sheer volume of press the film likely will continue to generate could boost attendance. But it’s an open question whether that, in combination with the cadre of diehard von Trier fans, will be enough to make it a profitable theatrical and video-on-demand release.

As with the Loach buy, IFC’s pickup marks a collaboration with a familiar face; the company previously released von Trier’s “The Boss of It All” and “Manderlay.”

The other only pickups of movies from the festival were secured on the fest’s first day, when Sony Pictures Classics announced it had bought “Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky” and “The White Ribbon.”

Two of the more high-profile acquisition targets, Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” and Alejandro Amenabar’s “Agora,” remain in play.

Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters

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