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Politics, Theory, and FilmCritical Encounters with Lars von Trier$
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Bonnie Honig and Lori J. Marso

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190600181

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190600181.001.0001

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Must We Burn Lars von Trier?

Must We Burn Lars von Trier?

Simone de Beauvoir’s Body Politics in Antichrist

Chapter:
(p.45) 2 Must We Burn Lars von Trier?
Source:
Politics, Theory, and Film
Author(s):

Lori J. Marso

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190600181.003.0003

This chapter explores the feminist elements in von Trier’s Antichrist (2009). The film itself is rife with images of sexual violence and bodies in pain—to say nothing of its suffering heroine—making it a difficult subject to tackle for feminist study. However, the chapter, as inspired by The Second Sex and Simone de Beauvoir’s 1952 essay on the Marquis de Sade, shows that, despite these issues, the film itself cannot be completely dismissed in feminist discourse. Antichrist, it argues, encourages spectators to explore a new politics through the extreme bodily experiences of Charlotte Gainsbourg’s character. A grotesque mother, Gainsbourg embodies and acknowledges the existence of “foreign realities” in Eden that shatter patriarchy’s deadening taxonomies.

Keywords:   Simone de Beauvoir, body politics, Antichrist, feminism, Marquis de Sade, The Second Sex, Must We Burn Sade, Charlotte Gainsbourg, patriarchy, bodily experiences

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