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2017.11.07

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Great show. And maybe fun fact? I'm a clinical psychologist, and was working at a hospital when an actor asked to come sit in on some therapy sessions in preparation for an upcoming role. Our clinic specialized in cognitive behavioral therapy and he wanted to get a feel for how to portray the therapy accurately in the movie.

That actor was Williem Dafoe, and that movie was "Antichrist."

He waited til after we said yes to say what the movie was about, and then a little while longer before he explained that Lars von Trier intended the movie to be a bit of nasty revenge at his therapist. I'm not sure if Tucker knew that explicitly but if not it was a damn good guess. We got invited to an early screening (my boss is thanked in the credits; all I got were some awesome Williem Dafoe voicemails that I lost when I gave up my Razr).

Besides being a little extra horrified at some of the therapy scenes (do I sound like that? kept running through my head during the movie), one thing blew me away, which felt like the cogent universal philosophy you guys discussed. Specifically, every psychotherapy (even psychoanalysis, although it's complicated) assumes that evil is a symptom--that a human being with freedom of choice and resilience will a little insight, support, and skill building, will make the "good" decision to be the best person he or she can be. The Humanist tradition in psychotherapy dies hard. Von Trier was positing that evil existed outside the therapeutic system (although not outside the world, as Sean astutely pointed out)--as Woman gets "better" and less anxious avoidant in her treatment, she is free to be true to her "natural" state, which just happened to be Evil. Shook me up a ton and is something I still think about in my work.

I have a whole bit on the Men Women and Chainsaws and who Von Trier actually identifies with in the movie at various times but I've been obnoxious enough for one post. Just wanted to say mostly thanks for all the great Pods and share a story.

And, as the great Williem Dafoe once said to me,

Bye-bye.

P.S. You want to have a tremendous time in therapy; have Williem Dafoe sit in the corner while you go to work.

Whoa, thanks for listening and for sharing your insight Jamie.

First: Jamie--feel free to share more. That was a great comment.

Second: I loved the long section devoted to Rosemary's Baby and really want to really recommend Lawrence Weschler's Polanski profile, which is included in his collection Vermeer in Bosnia (there's a lot of good work in there actually). It probably most clearly mirrors Tucker's perspective on the man, but Weschler digs deep and wide and records some really fascinating observations about what the guy can do on set. It's a completely exceptional piece of work, obviously on a very difficult set of topics that Weschler has the courage to address in a humane, observant, and pretty sensitive manner.

Before I jump off into my own digression into something that only received a passing mention in this episode I just want to take a moment to acknowledge Jamie’s comment as a fascinating bit of behind the scenes background for a film that did truly mess me up. Thanks for that Jamie.

Now, onto the fact that I’d forgotten that you guys had a sword cult going. Well, I guess after watching King Arthur back-to-back-to-back on a recent international flight, I’ll need to sacrifice a loved one to the squid witches/prove myself in the Darklands/go on a snake venom induced spiritual journey/pay whatever other toll may be required for entry into the cult as I thoroughly enjoyed that film. I think that watching it in a sleep daze, as I did, so that the movie came across as akin to a raging fever dream may have produced an optimal viewing experience for the film. From the young King Arthur’s cockney gangster swagger (“Put your ring back on honey-tits, you haven’t had enough porridge this morning to talk like that.”), to the none-more-metal opening of Banna launching himself at a giant war elephant while leaving his horse to plummet to its death, to absolutely everything about the mage character - there was so much to love in that film. (Oh and I totally agree that the line delivery of the actress who played the Mage was inexplicably mesmerising as too was the way she’d comport herself in certain scenes - I can’t get the image of her placidly stepping off a cliff edge while her rebel colleagues frantically hurl themselves to safety out of my head).

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