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'Antichrist' gets 'anti-prize' at Cannes

 

May 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM

Cannes entered the final straight with more controversy Saturday over gothic thriller "Antichrist" after the festival director denounced an "anti-prize" it received as an attempt at censorship.

Lars von Trier's film was declared "the most misogynist movie from the self-proclaimed biggest director in the world" by an Ecumenical Jury which every year hands out a prize to a Cannes film that celebrates spiritual values.

This year it went to Ken Loach's "Looking for Eric," but the jury was so shocked by Von Trier's film -- which features a shot of a clitoris sliced off with rusty scissors -- that it felt the need to award a special "anti-prize."

The jury president, the Romanian film-maker Radu Mihaileanu, said in a statement read out to AFP that Von Trier was suggesting with his film that "woman should be burnt at the stake so that man can finally stand up."

Cannes festival director Thierry Fremaux reacted furiously.

It was a "ridiculous decision that borders on a call for censorship, (it is) scandalous coming from an 'ecumenical' jury which what is more is headed by a film-maker," he told AFP.

Critics gasped, jeered and hooted -- and at least four people fainted -- during a preview of "Antichrist," one of 20 films competing for the Palme d'Or top award to be handed out Sunday.

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