Antichrist days ('Antichrist' (2009) dir. Lars von Trier)

The day I watched 'Antichrist', a number of things were meant to happen. I always aim to fill the days up, but never succeed in doing most of the things I plan out. Thusly To-do lists go unchecked and I always go to bed feeling unsatisfied. On this day, I planned to run a number of errand in town, including returning a stupid pair of jeans I had bought that didn't fit. So here I am, at the train station ready to head into town, jeans in bag, when I'm hit (as I am recurringly these days) with the wave of nausea that sends me scuttling home. Whether the nausea is brought on by fear of being found guilty of fare-evasion on the train, or something else, I haven't a clue.

I go home and watch 'Antichrist' instead.

During the movie, I routinely pause it to check my phone, get up and see why the washing machine is making a noise like it's about to take off, or just to get up for the sake of it. 'Antichrist' has a runtime of 108 minutes, but, all in all, it took me five hours to finish the film. Pretty much a full day if you take into account my absolute refusal to wake up before midday. On the one hand, I love a good movie (understatement) so of course it's not necessarily a waste of time, but it is a wasted day.

A day indoors, a day fully dedicated to one thing: watching one film (entailing sitting still and not thinking about anything but what you are shown). A full day of 'Antichrist'. Nothing but 'Antichrist'. You have to watch the sun set behind a window because you can't move from the sofa until you've finished fucking 'Antichrist'. And why that specifically?

It occurred to me during the film that I haven't really progressed past my old gore blog days (we've all had them). Teenage me was ill, theres no denying it. I had this awful hobby of curating organ and dissection pictures on a (now banned) Tumblr account of all things. Edgy is the only word for it. My evenings were fully-booked with just absolute scummy shit in an attempt to be somewhat counter-cultural and disturbing. It's the teenage way of knowing you're mentally ill and doing everything you can to exacerbate it and make it your definition because you're afraid thats what it will become eventually anyway, and without your help.

Now I can say I'm more morally competent and that I cringe at past phases or whatever, but I still can't explain what's up with all these quote unquote disturbing movies I watch if it's still not a crack at the counter-cultural. I'm defining myself as a horror-movie-freak, and for what? Anyway, this was just a passing thought that I'm not reading too much into, because it's very 'horror movies are making your kids gay and depressed'. I like this current phase even if it means I'm still an edgy try-hard at heart, though I guess future me will cringe too. Horror movies seem to be the only thing I care about recently, but what if they're making me worse, like, mentally? Then, turncoating, if I stop watching, what am I doing that is making my happy? A fat lot of nothing. Fleeing the train station with anxiety certainly isn't a fun experience to me.

But the idea of not progressing, of being frozen in time, has felt very full and present today. The characters in 'Antichrist' make very little positive progress (they seem to be competetive trying to make themselves worse). I've made no progress in my day-to-day errands by sitting for five hours and watching them do so. I'm coining the phrase 'antichrist day' to define a day where you resort to a same old, same old pastime to avoid the real world, but make yourself guilty in the process and, for a brief and shining split-second, suddenly hate that pastime.

In all my antichrist days, I'm aware that time is egg-yolk dripping away. I know that it's one more day of my life gone until who knows when, but I just can't bring myself to move forward. I have a calendar. Bang, it's the middle of the month and I'm still on last month's page. In my antichrist days, there's no future, and the present is the past.

The sun was starting to set, and I really didn't want this to be an antichrist day. Among one of the things I planned to do was feed the birds, because I had half a loaf of stale bread. In the last ten minutes of the film, I launched up, paused it, got dressed and left the flat with the bread, pretty much in one fluid-movement, and without thought. I was out of there.

I'm a very big believer that theres a kernel of scientific truth to those jokes about absorbing the personality of 'cool' characters when you leave the cinema after having watched a film. Every time you take in new media, I believe you're absorbing energy and it shapes the world around you. You're not the same person you were one movie ago, etc, etc. Basically, everything you've ever seen or read stays with you, even if it's subconsciously.

When I was staggering down the street, sky darkening, with half my loaf of bread clutched in my fist, did that mean I was still in 'Antichrist'? I was out in public looking at cars and the pavement or whatever, and all I could think about was the TV screen at home, paused on a frame of Willem Dafoe's penis fucking squirting blood. It didn't help that it was dusk at that point and 'Antichrist' has that gloomy faux-arty look about it.

I ended up running into an old friend on my way to the prime bird-feeding spot- a metal bridge overlooking a park. I'm no bird expert, but I was once walking there and saw an old woman emptying a bag of seeds onto the bridge railings, mass flocks of pigeons gathered round, so that's where I assumed I would have a good show.

I convinced this old friend to double back with me and help break up the bread into bird-sized chunks. We laid out the whole half-loaf, but alas, no pigeons came. Just when you want to see a bird to come and steal your food, there's no cunting birds around. So, I'm sensing a (call me crazy) pattern with today. A friend from the past, no actual advancement toward a goal- I'm not crazy, am I? Like, that genuinely is a theme recurrent for today?

Now I am home and I've finished 'Antichrist' (alright movie), and I'm seeing a lot of people have reviewed it as pointless, and without meaning. I'm similarly struggling to actually find a cosmic reason where I would need to have antichrist days beyond my mum telling me that it's 'ok to relax every once in a while'. A day where you have no schoolwork, no work-work, aim to be productive, and instead bicker at a spouse, take a smug above-emotions stance and transform an intimate relationship into a clinical one so that sex feels ominous and weird. A day where you see dark omens in nature and feel your sanity slip away. A day where you become literally held back by a concrete dial screwed in place to your leg. A day where you go outside and have the world become black and white like something terrible is about to, or has already, happened.

Of course, it's nice that most days I have a general routine. I don't often get hit with the freedom to do anything, and opt instead to do nothing(I genuinely think my coinage is accurate. I mean, days like this are the work of the devil). Maybe I'll relish going back to work tomorrow just so the option of doing nothing is snatched away from me. I'm kind of desperate for something to learn from this experience. Ok, whats the moral of the story? If I cant think of one for me, I'll have to settle for jokingly counselling the characters in 'Antichrist'. Get a load of these losers, am I right?

Here goes, a happy ending to 'Antichrist'. Both characters (Him and Her) should have had their free time absolutely stripped. Pick up a nine-to-five and there's less time for therapeutic cabin retreats that end in female genital mutilation. I know they're grieving, and so this sentiment is vaguely 'beat-cop who wont stop working his own wife's murder case even though he needs compassionate leave desperately', but in that trope, the beat-cop is always hard on the graft, even before the passing of his hypothetical wife. Him and Her are vaguely middle-to-upper class and reek of self-help books and too-much-time-on-their-hands. Basically, they needed to head to Indeed dot com.

Do I need to pick up a second job? Genuinely and hatefully, no. What I need is some sort of system to pushing myself into doing something, anything. I need to face facts and realise that delving into horror fiction is doing nothing to help the fact that I am slowly finding more and more mundane things scary. I need to acknowledge that the reason I can sit back and be edgily proud of myself for not flinching at the graphic scenes in things like 'Antichrist' is pathetic when coupled with the knowledge that I cannot get a train to town without having a panic-attack. It's easy for me to sit back and jokingly diagnose Him and Her as avoidance for taking a hard look at my real life issues. Whatever, maybe that's too deep for a Monday. I am going to start another film shortly after uploading this.