Antichrist is a 2009 English-language Danish experimental horror film written and directed by Lars von Trier, and starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. It tells the story of a couple who, after the death of their child, retreat to a cabin in the woods where the man experiences strange visions and the woman manifests increasingly violent sexual behaviour and sadomasochism. The narrative is divided into a prologue, four chapters and an epilogue. The film was primarily a Danish production and co-produced by companies from six different European countries. It was filmed in Germany and Sweden.
After premiering at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, where Gainsbourg won the festival’s award for Best Actress, the film immediately caused controversy, with critics generally praising the film’s artistic execution but strongly divided regarding its substantive merit. Other awards won by the film include the Robert Award for best Danish film, The Nordic Council Film Prize for best Nordic film and the European Film Award for best cinematography. The film is dedicated to the Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (1932–86).
Antichrist is the first film in von Trier’s unofficially titled “Depression Trilogy”. It was followed in 2011 by Melancholia and then by Nymphomaniac in 2013.
The mother collapses at the funeral, and spends the next month in the hospital crippled with atypical grief. The father, a therapist, is skeptical of the psychiatric care she is receiving and takes it upon himself to treat her personally with psychotherapy. But it is not successful, and so when she reveals that her second greatest fear is nature, he decides to try exposure therapy. They hike to their isolated cabin in a woods called Eden, where she spent time with Nic the previous summer while writing a thesis on gynocide. He encounters a doe which shows no fear of him, and has a stillborn fawn hanging halfway out of her.