It’s become customary for movies to have video game tie-ins these days as an additional merchandising cash-in. SUPERMAN RETURNS, IRON MAN, INCREDIBLE HULK, TRANSFORMERS, UP, you name it, there will be a game. Usually, the games are boring and repetitive approximations of the superficial aspects of the movies that dooms them to bargain bins months after the movies end their runs.
So I can’t wait to see the video game tie-in of Lars von Trier’s latest movie ANTICHRIST.
ANTICHRIST is about a couple played by Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg whose baby dies and they retreat to a cabin in the woods for some major grief therapy. Said therapy includes catatonia, orgies, graphic genital penetration shots, total insanity and, eventually, genital mutilation, the usual stuff. With the story kicked off by the couple’s baby dying because the couple were too busy having sex, falling out the window at their moment of orgasm, it’s either some kind of grand statement about life, marriage, sex and generally shocking the hell out of people who don’t watch horror movies or a massive put-on to get an award and major distribution deal. Reportedly, four people fainted at the screening, several walked out and the end drew boos.
After that, how could he not declare himself the greatest director in the world after Tarkovsky? It would have been a huge letdown if he hadn’t.
The French call it “épater les bourgeois”, the time-tested ploy of doing something that scandalizes the chattering classes so much that they give you endless amounts of attention by being so scandalized that they never stop talking about you in the media and at their dinner parties. Lars von Trier and his fellow directors who have films in competition at Cannes know and play that game very well. For arthouse filmmakers, “épater les bourgeois” is their Olympic sport, with all the high stakes you imagine if they win: prizes, money, prestige and career advancement.
Lars von Trier is practically the Tarantino of the European arthouse set. He’s extremely cine-literate, knows the form and techniques of filmmaking, abandoned them and tried to rewrite the rules with his DOGME ’95 manifesto where he advocated taking movies back to a gimmick-free degree-zero mode of production and storytelling without music, special effects or narrative tricks (he knew would get him and his fellow travelers attention, and he was right). He made movies as diverse as THE ELEMENT OF CRIME, EUROPA (that’s ZENTROPA for US audiences), the anti-musical DANCER IN THE DARK (which won the top prize at Cannes) and THE IDIOTS. He’s also known for being very public about his emotional problems, like his issues with his mother, his hang-ups about his parentage, his issues with religion and women, and he’s not shy about putting his pathologies on screen and milking them for publicity. Now that’s a showman!
You could argue that von Trier is either genuinely insane or just a very skilled manipulator of publicity, but you can’t deny that the viewers and reviewers at Cannes swallowed his bait, threw it up, then swallowed it again. Sounds like mission accomplished to me. This is man who directed one of his movies while naked from the waist down to put his actors at ease, since they were shooting an orgy at the time.
According t0 the MTV games blog, the game, EDEN, will be a download-only game not available from your local Walmart or Asda. Von Trier is reportedly a fan of video games, especially ALONE IN THE DARK, which according to many gamers is one the worst games ever, so that’s entirely consistent of him. EDEN sounds like a dark, evil version of MYST where player will have to upload first a profile and list their phobias and greatest fears, then the game will force them to face those fears. Development is underway at von Trier’s production company Zentropa for a 2010 release. The Game Director is Morten Iversen, who was previous the leader of the HITMAN game series, so he would know a thing or two about bloody mutilation. He’s already talking about player axe-murders in the game.
While most businesses value the appearance of thinking outside the box, Lars von Trier has opted to go inside the box and decorate its walls with his bodily fluids and cutting instruments.
I’m already imagining this game.
Press X for baby to fall out the window.
Press O to primal scream and go catatonic from shock.
Press X to cut your husband’s balls off.
Press O to use the dildo.
I wonder if it’ll have replay value.
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