The Cedar Lee Theatre opens two new films this weekend. Here are our reviews.
Danish enfant terrible Lars von Trier's Cannes-awarded cause celebre deals with a couple (Willem Dafoe and a risk-taking Charlotte Gainsbourg) who express grief over the accidental death of their young son in extraordinarily, uh, destructive ways. If a movie can be artistically sublime and transcendently ridiculous at the same time, von Trier's latest provocation definitely fits the bill. There's even a talking fox that appears mid-movie to utter the film's most ineffable (and quotable) line, "Chaos reigns." Indeed. Destined to become a cult flick for the ages, Antichrist proves that the Breaking the Waves/Dancer in the Dark director hasn't lost his skill for rattling an audience's collective nerve. Love it or loathe it, there's certainly nothing else like it in current release. *** (Milan Paurich)
Based on the life of French painter Séraphine de Senlis, Martin Provost's film features an Oscar-worthy performance by Yolanda Moreau, who brings great intensity to the role of the troubled artist. The film beings quietly as Séraphine is working as a housekeeper when she meets Wilhelm Uhde (Ulrich Tukur), a German art collector renting an apartment in Senlis, a small town just outside of Paris. When Wilhelm finds one of Séraphine's paintings, he's struck by its beauty and tells her he wants to be her patron. She accepts, and at first things go well. Wilhelm sells a few of her paintings, and it's not long before she's painting full-time and renting a larger apartment. But when the economy goes bad as war approaches, she gets frustrated with Wilhem's inability to get her a show in Paris. She also starts to have a mental breakdown, and it's not long before she's institutionalized. While it's certainly a sad story, Séraphine is a compassionate portrait of a visionary artist. *** (Jeff Niesel)