HR decribes Cannes' blood-soaked red carpet

Thirst (2009)Hollywood Reporter film critic Kirk Honeycutt thinks the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival is running red with blood, thanks to a series of violent flicks unspooling in competition, including Park Chan-wook’s vampire film THIRST and Lars Von Trier’s art house horror film ANTICHRIST.

In such cases as a razor-blade murder in Jacques Audiard’s finely wrought French prison drama “A Prophet” and the bullet-ridden bodies in Johnnie To’s enjoyable Hong Kong actioner “Vengeance,” the violence falls well within the expected parameters of genre filmmaking. Even the blood-soaked ghoulishness of Park Chan-wook’s Korean vampire movie “Thirst” is more campy than disturbing.

[…] Lars von Trier’s “Antichrist” savors genital mutilation by rusty scissors, a drill grinding through a leg, an ejaculation of blood and strangulation.

Individually, each violent film save one has it merits. For all the graphic gore in its final act — and disturbing imagery and mental malpractice leading up to it — von Trier’s film is brimming with ideas and literary references. This is vigorous, fearless filmmaking — it just doesn’t work. The writer-director never pulls all his symbols and conceits into a coherent whole. It is, at once, his most ambitious and least successful film.
 Park’s “Thirst” provoked mixed reactions, but the view from here is that camp overwhelmed whatever serious themes he hoped to develop concerning the eroticism of violence. And its lengthy running time certainly drained whatever enthusiasm one has for vampires.

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