Lars von Trier agrees to cut his 'Antichrist' to avoid censorship

Danish film director Lars von Trier (photo centre) is to cut some scenes from his Cannes offering 'Antichrist' in order to avoid the film being banned in certain countries that would find the violence and sex in it too extreme.


AFP - Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier has agreed to a toned-down cut of his new film "Antichrist", which features graphic scenes of sexual mutilation, to satisfy foreign censors, his production company said Wednesday.

"We reached an agreement with Lars more than a year ago to make a 'Catholic' version of the movie, to cut some scenes and replace them with others," Peter Aalbaek Jensen, the head of the Zentropa production group, told AFP.

"Otherwise it would be impossible to sell (it) to prude markets like southern Europe, Asia and the United States, where you can't show a naked man from the front," he said.

The film's close-ups of sex and mutilation left audiences gasping, squirming and jeering when it was screened on Monday at the Cannes Film Festival.

Jensen said he "does not know yet which scenes will be censored" and will "talk to distributors in these countries to seek out their opinions on the subject."

The edited version will also enable Zentropa to sell it to television worldwide, he added.

Von Trier will begin work on the new version "after the Cannes festival," he said.

The uncut version of the film, which opens in Denmark on Wednesday, is one of 20 competing for the Palme d'Or at Cannes. It has been hailed by Danish critics, though viewers in Cannes on Monday gave it both cheers and boos.

It was written by von Trier as a form of therapy at the end of a long depression and inspired by his dreams and obsessions.

Willem Dafoe and France's Charlotte Gainsbourg deliver powerful performances in the movie as a couple who retreat to the woods to try to overcome grief at the death of their baby son.

It opens with a slow-motion close-up of sexual penetration, veers into a dramatic escalation of violence, and climaxes with an excruciating shot of Gainsbourg slicing off her clitoris with a pair of scissors.

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