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Shock Art: Disturbing With or Without Cause


Antichrist, the film from director Lars von Trier (pictured here), has left the critics and screeners at Cannes shocked. About a grieving couple, Antichrist features scenes of sexual mutilation, horrific gore, and a child's accidental death. Many in the audience gasped, whiles others booed or walked out. And some critics wondered why the "offensive" film was allowed to air at the famous festival.

It may be futile to get up in arms about an offensive piece of art, since what constitutes art or offensiveness are highly subjective. Still, some consider gratuitously graphic films like Antichrist cultural pollution rather than valuable provocation because those critics think the filmmaker is using sensationalism for no other apparent reason than to gain attention and publicity.

As for the director, Von Trier, director of the beautiful film Breaking the Waves, refuses to explain the value behind the disturbing scenes, saying only that he made the film as a "kind of therapy" during his recent battle with depression. He said: "I don't think about the audience when I make a film. I don't care. I make films for myself."

Since the value of art is in the eye of the beholder, tell me: do you see a purpose for art that shocks the audience?

To see a trailer of the movie, read more.

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