CANNES, France (Reuters) – Danish director Lars von Trier elicited derisive laughter, gasps of disbelief, a smattering of applause and loud boos on Sunday as the credits rolled on his drama “Antichrist” at the Cannes film festival.
The film, starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a couple seeking to overcome the grief of losing their only child, has quickly become the most talked-about at this year’s festival, which ends on May 24.
Cannes’ notoriously picky critics and press often react audibly to films during screenings, but Sunday evening’s viewing was unusually demonstrative.
Jeers and laughter broke out during scenes ranging from a talking fox to graphically-portrayed sexual mutilation.
Many viewers in the large Debussy cinema also appeared to take objection to von Trier’s decision to dedicate his film to the revered Soviet director Andrei Tarkovsky. Applause from a handful of viewers was drowned out by booing at the end.