At a surprisingly busy mid-afternoon Cubby Broccoli Cinema screening of Antichrist earlier this week, I half-imagined a repeat of the reaction to the film at its Cannes premiere. That screening kicked off the fuss around the film, with snorts, boos, walkouts and derisive laughter from its audience of over-heated film industry personnel.
After a chaotic press conference with the film’s arch-prankster director Lars von Trier, the Antichrist hoo-hah has trundled along until now, when British audiences have finally had a chance to see it for themselves.
We’ve been showing Antichrist at Cubby Broccoli since last week, so I attended Monday’s afternoon screening to see what Bradford cinemagoers made of this ‘beautiful battery of depraved images and irrational associations’ (Channel 4 Film).
As the notoriously explicit film began with its audience-baiting opening sequence, there was a definite knot of anticipation—looking round, people had leaned forward in their seats, braced against the film…
One-and-three-quarter hours later, I can report that all the people that had begun watching the film were still there, and seemed more or less sane. There were a handful of yelps, at least one anticipatory groan, a few heavy sighs and one or two head-scratches.
Perhaps Bradford at 16.00 on a Monday afternoon is just too sensible for the outrage that’s been touted by the papers.
Or perhaps the Cannes-fuelled hype machine is just a little bit silly?