I planned to spend some time thinking about this film and analyzing it, but I haven’t gotten around to it; and I suspect I won’t do that (the endeavor doesn’t appeal to me, and I don’t have the energy). Because of this, and the slow deterioration of my memory of the film, I thought I ought to write whatever thoughts and impressions I may have, no matter how poorly formed.
Before I throw out some thoughts and questions, my sense is that von Trier has stuffed this film with a variety of motifs and themes—women-men; therapist-patient, nature-reason; Adam and Eve, etc.—and it feels like a quagmire to me (similar to Dogville). What I want to know is if all these ideas form a coherent whole—indicating that von Trier knows what he’s doing. I’m not entirely convinced that was the case with Dogville or Manderlay, and I’m a bit skeptical here with this film.
Having said that, both Dogville and Anti-Christ held my attention and impressed me with their filmmaking—so much so that I could say that I “liked” both films. And I think I would say that even if the ideas behind the film turn out to be incoherent babble. My hope is that those who love the film can sort out all the ideas in the film and present a coherent conceptual world.
Here are some other thoughts and questions:
>When I write about films, I try to write about who the main characters are—why they behave the way they do, etc. I haven’t done that with this film, but I’m interested in hearing someone answer this question. Here’s what I got so far. The woman seems to have turned out to be a witch. (Based on the pictures of the boy wearing the shoes on the wrong feet, among other things.) She allowed her son to die out of necessity for the arrival of the Three Beggars. So her grief doesn’t only come from the loss of her child, but the fact that she allowed her son to die. The man is a therapist, one that is arrogant and controlling. He discovers that his wife is really a witch and before he can confront her she attacks him….Let me stop there because I’m not happy with this reading, as part of it sounds too literal, among other problems. Hopefully, somebody can help me.
>What was the link between the woman’s grief and her fear? I’m not a therapist or psychologist, but when the man asks her to name her greatest fears, that seemed like a non-sequitur to me.
>And what do people make of her fear of touching the grass with her feet? Was that some symbol/metaphor that I completely missed or was it literal (i.e., she was genuinely terrified of the house in the forrest, to the point where she couldn’t walk on the grass with her bare feet).
>Has anyone discussed the possibility that the film is about the nature of the relationship between therapist and patient? Is the film a metaphor for that relationship?
>I’m interested in hearing the connection between this film and Tarkovsky’s. Tarkovsky’s films are often religious (Christian), but does this film take an anti-Christian position? (If it’s not obvious, I’m so confused to the point of not being able to answer this question.)
That’s an interesting take but I have to say, I never got the sense that she was a witch and that she allowed her son to die as some sort of sacrifice. That’s seems kinds weird to me and like you said, a bit too literal. I’d be curious to hear other peoples’ reaction to this interpretation.
Then what was the meaning of the pictures with the son wearing the shoes on the wrong foot? (Also, the autopsy report on the son indicates that there was an abnormality in the bones of his feet—but the doctors didn’t attach any significance to this, suggesting that the viewer probably should. Just a McGuffin?) The man asks her about this, and then she gives some explanation. But then he goes into woodshed, and he finds other pictures of the son wearing the sons on the wrong feet. If she’s not a witch, this discovery is still something ominous, relating to the woman. If I recall, she discovers him at this moment and starts assaulting him. But I believe she’s doing this because she thinks he’s going to leave her. (Was it because she knows he discovered that she’s a witch? If not, I’m confused about why she accuses him of planning to leave.)
Two other points:
1. On the triangle the man scribbles on a paper, indicating the woman’s fears. At the base of the triangle, he has written “leaves” and “trees;” above that is “woods;” above that “Eden (garden).” Two possible options for the pinnacle are “Satan” and “nature,” both of which are crossed out. Right before the woman attacks him, he writes “Me” signifying the woman (“herself,” he says out loud).
2. Prior to the woodshed scene, the man has two conversations with woman. In one of them, they role-play—he plays that part of Nature, which is trying to hurt her; while she plays the part of reason. He eventually says that he (Nature) can kill her because nature is inside of her—i.e., human nature. She responds by talking about a part of human nature that seeks to kill women, but then she shifts gears by saying that if human nature is evil, then, she implies, that women are evil, too. “The nature of the all the sisters,” she says.Then she says, “Women do not control their bodies. Nature does.” (Earlier she says something about "not underestimating Eden—implying that Eden has endowed women with an evil nature, too?). He mentions that the texts she studied supposedly proved that women were evil (I’m assuming these are older books about witches, with the authors justifying the killing of women.) and he rebukes her for accepting the books at face value.
Later (after the strange sex scene out in the woods), the man says, “Good and evil have nothing to do with therapy.” Then he talks about the many innocent women killed in the 16th century just for being women—not for being evil. She replies: “I know. It’s just that I forget sometimes.”
Man: “The evil you talk about is an obsession. And obsessions never materialize. It’s a scientific fact. Anxieties can’t trick you into doing things you wouldn’t do otherwise. It’s like being hypnotism. You can’t be hypnotized to do something you wouldn’t normally do, something against your nature.” She doesn’t seem convinced.
One possible reading is that she’s not convinced because she knows she allowed her son to die.
If she’s not a witch, then I’m not sure what the significance of the shoe on the wrong feet? There is a scene where the man imagines the boy crying while the mother puts the shoes on the wrong feet. Could this mean that the man wants to see the woman as evil—or maybe he realizes that her mental problems has caused her to hurt her son? ? (The scene with the woman watching the son fall out the window might also be the man’s imagining the situation—i.e., seeing her as evil. But at that point—after he has the sharpening stone drilled into his leg, etc.—that might not be so unreasonable.)
No, I’m pretty sure the woman is the one remembering the boy falling from the window. This occurs when the man is lying next to her (barely conscious). We see a shot of her face, eyes open and then a cut to the a black-and-white shot of the boy climbing on the table. Cut back to her in color and she starts crying. Then we see another shot of the boy falling. (The man’s eyes are closed, and doesn’t seem conscious.)
About the whole “witch” thing, I always interpreted the main theme of the film to be grief, and that scene of her thinking back to the death of the child with her watching him fall out the window was because she felt responsible. I think without this it is much more of a film about insanity, and I really don’t think Von Trier was going for that.
What do people make of the scene when the man crawls out of the woodshed with the stone attached to his leg? I’m thinking specifically of the scene where he crawls under a tree and sees some bugs and the raven (I think). The only thing I can think of (and I’m far from convinced) is the idea that when Jesus dies, He goes down into the world of the dead, supposedly raising up those who have died in the past. I realize this is grasping at straws, but that’s the best I can do. This scene has to mean something more than the literal meaning.
And does anyone know the background of the Three Beggars? Does they come from a myth or story, or did von Trier make them up for the film?
It’s some weird reinterpretation of this (the three wise men).
OK, let me throw out another hypothesis about the film:
The film is a critique of therapy—particularly one based on reason and science. The man represents this position, while the woman represent—the irrational, spiritual components that science fails to understand or explain. Because science/reason can’t deal with these elements, it denies or ignores. The man strangling the women might represent this idea.
The film’s doesn’t just critique science and reason per se, but the hubris that often accompany it. The man isn’t supposed to treat his wife, but he disregards that advice, partly because of his pride. He also ignores the belief that one shouldn’t sleep with the patient, again, partly out of his own self-confidence and pride. All of this may represent the hubris of science—that it feels it can easily and adequately deal with the irrational—the sin of human beings (if you’re a Christian). The woman knows this isn’t true, but she just goes along with him.
The woman’s fear of nature (the woods, Eden, walking on the grass, etc.) stems from her knowledge that there is an evil component to nature (human nature, if not Nature in creation). The man brings her back to this nature and unleashes the insanity in her, while his methods prove ineffective. So the film is criticizing this type of therapy.
Finally, the ending with the witches returning represents that while science and reason may try to “kill”—by denying—the irrational, sinful aspects of human nature, they really can’t. That science in the end will be overcome.
Hmm, a reinterpretation of the Three Wise Men? Seems a bit of stretch—not your suggestion so much as von Trier’s decision to do this (if this is the case).
Interesting interpretation, but I doubt if Von Trier was going for anything so specific. Or maybe he was…
The woman’s fear of nature (the woods, Eden, walking on the grass, etc.) stems from her knowledge that there is an evil component to nature (human nature, if not Nature in creation).
Could you expand on that a bit; do you mean because of the events at the start of the film, or just, well, a general knowledge that there is evil in people?
And I’m not entirely sure about the three wise men thing, it has come up a few times in the past when I have discussed this film, and I looked it up and it seems to be the only explanation that people can think of. To my knowledge Von Trier himself has never bothered to explain it. Probably likely that he just wanted to have an excuse for a talking fox.
@Jazz – I’ve seen the film twice but both times were when it was in theaters, which was over two years ago. So I don’t remember the explanations to the pictures of the shoes. But like I said, I never interpreted any of this to mean she was a witch.
I should say, there were a lot of stuff in the film I didn’t fully understand. That’s why I loved reading all the interpretations that people had.
“About the whole “witch” thing, I always interpreted the main theme of the film to be grief, and that scene of her thinking back to the death of the child with her watching him fall out the window was because she felt responsible. I think without this it is much more of a film about insanity, and I really don’t think Von Trier was going for that.”
Yes, this was my reading too. It’s a film about grief and guilt – she feels guilty because she saw it happen but was in the throws of passion and didn’t try to stop it.
I mentioned the conversation about the woman’s research—where the woman seems to have concluded that the women (accused as witches) actually were evil, that they deserved to die. The man reacts strongly to this, saying that she was supposed to be critical of the texts, not accept their conclusions. To me, this suggests that while doing her research at Eden, she realized that human nature is evil. So “Eden” might represent Nature, which endowed people with evil or that controls people and causes them to behave in evil ways (i.e., people enslaved to their natures).
Her baby’s death confirms the realization she gained from her research at Eden—especially if she allowed her son to die. (I’m pretty sure the Three Beggars are present when the son dies—which suggests that she allows her son to die because a person must die when the Three Beggars appear. What’s going on with this requirement of the Three Beggars? What do they represent?) So when her son dies she’s overcome by grief, but also fear. (When the man asks her about her fears, I thought that was an odd question, since I didn’t see a connection between fear and grief. My impression was that she was incredibly sad because her son died—in a horrific way, no less. Why does fear have to play a role in this?) When learn that her fear relates to nature, and eventually herself—this ties back into her discovery at Eden. The man tries to make her face her fears and overcome them, thinking that it is irrational and unfounded. So, he works to help her overcome her fears. But this may not have been a good thing—her fears of Nature—both in terms of Mother Nature and human nature—are well-founded. But since the man doesn’t believe in good or evil, he doesn’t think this is an issue.
Perhaps what happens when they return to Eden is that the man’s rationally based therapy makes matters much worse or at least doesn’t solve the problem (evil nature), and Nature ultimately overcomes him (reason).
But like I said, I never interpreted any of this to mean she was a witch.
Maybe she’s not a witch—not literally. But her being a witch is more symbolic—as this aligns nicely with the notion of the irrational, mystical and spiritual—which is what the man (who represents reason and science) denies and rejects.
It’s a film about grief and guilt – she feels guilty because she saw it happen but was in the throws of passion and didn’t try to stop it.
I feel like it has to be much more than that. I do think the film could be about grief, but also about the way we go about dealing with grief. The film might be criticizing a certain school of therapy—one that relies strictly on logic and science, while rejecting any spiritual or religious component. It’s critical of the hubris behind this approach, ulitimately suggesting that the irrational, spiritual, mystical will always overcome reason and logic (at least in matters relating to guilt, grief, etc.).
I still don’t really see this whole therapy thing; it seems too specific, and what would be the point of the film if it was meant to be like that?
I actually meant that she imagined that flashback. Her watching her son fall out of the window didn’t actually happen, but she sees it happening that way because she feels so responsible. And I guess she blamed this on sex, as it distracted her or whatever, which leads to the genital mutilation.
So the moral of the film is: sex leads to genital mutilation.
The interpretation I’m offering doesn’t attack therapy as a general idea—but a type of therapy that relies on reason and scientific-mindset, while denying any spiritual or religious understanding—to the point of hubris. In a way, you could say that the film targets reason—and the arrogance that almost deifies human reason and science. This leads to answer to the question what or who does the Antichrist refer to? Based on this interpretation, the Antichrist might be reason/maleness. (I’m not if that really fits, but I’ll throw it out there. I would be interested in hearing what other people think about the meaning of the title, though.) So the point of the film is to attack reason and maybe this is intertwined or represented by masculinity (as some associate reason and logic with men, while women are associated with feeling and emotion). Does that make sense?
I can’t rule out this interpretation, and I like the explanation of genital mutilation, which I really couldn’t explain. Riffing on your explanation, perhaps she mutilates herself (and him) because she closely associates sex with nature (human nature and natural world). It’s her human (sinful) nature that she fears and hates….but did sex merely distract her or was there something more sinister at work? The woman seems to realize the evil in her (not just in her, but in human beings), and there’s an indication that she’s witch (in the pejorative sense; or what do the shoes on the wrong feet indicate?). Also, aren’t the figurines of the Three Beggars present went the boy falls? This indicates that she allowed the boy to die because someone must die when the Three Beggars arrive. (Why does someone have to die when grief, pain and chaos arrive? It would make more sense if the Beggars arrive after someone dies. I also get the sense that the woman sacrifices someone to satisfy Beggars. I’m not sure if that’s correct, though.)
“The interpretation I’m offering doesn’t attack therapy as a general idea—but a type of therapy that relies on reason and scientific-mindset, while denying any spiritual or religious understanding”
Yes, it’s specifically an (satirical) attack on “cognitive therapy”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_therapy. von Trier : “I have been undergoing this cognitive therapy for three years, and I tend to get sarcastic about it. One of the main ideas behind the treatment is that a fear is a thought, and a thought doesn’t change reality. But you can say in the film that it’s changed reality.”
“perhaps she mutilates herself (and him) because she closely associates sex with nature”
I assumed that that who sequence was a was of punishing her husband and herself for “allowing” that to happen to their son.
I think von Trier’s recently films seem to be more about pitting opposing forms and forces against one another rather than about coherent, plotted drama.
The depressed, grief-stricken person’s vision of the world turns out to be the accurate one. The End.
I usually don’t pay much attention to a director’s comments about a specific film, but I’m tempted in this case. Actually, I heard somewhere that von Trier was in depression and the film had some connection to that. That bit of information did inform my interpretation. In a way, you could sum up my interpretation by saying the film is a “hate letter” to his therapist (or the therapist’s school of thought). If that’s true—if von Trier is essentially giving his therapist the finger—I must say, that’s kind of amusing, and I sort of love this aspect, if it fits.
I assumed that that who sequence was a was of punishing her husband and herself for “allowing” that to happen to their son.
Speaking of mutilation, Parks^. ;) I assume you mean the genital mutiliation is punishment because having sex lead to the death of their son. That makes sense, and it sounds like the “correct” interpretation (which is what G was essentially suggesting). I think the connection with nature might be there, too, although it seems a little hokey.
You mean, it’s more about themes and ideas, than a conventional dramatic narrative? I haven’t seen Melancholia yet, but I think that description fits Antichrist (and Dogville and Manderlay).
Btw, fwiw, I’m glad I posted my thoughts and some people have responded, because it’s really helped me work through the “quagmire” of ideas—not that I’m completely satisfied with the interpretation I’ve suggested.
The depressed, grief-stricken person’s vision of the world turns out to be the accurate one
Right. The therapist can “win” over the patient—i.e., the man killing the woman; reason triumphing over the irrational—but in the end the the therapist (his approach) will prove to be wrong—i.e., the women overcoming the man—>irrational overcoming the rational.
“not that I’m completely satisfied with the interpretation I’ve suggested.”
I’m not completely satisfied with mine, either.
“The depressed, grief-stricken person’s vision of the world turns out to be the accurate one”
Just wait until you see Melancholia and Matt’s statement above will be even more clear. lol
Well, let’s keep refining and searching until we find one that we’re satisfied with (or at least agree that one doesn’t exist).
There’s still a lot of loose ends. What do you make of the Three Beggars and the need for someone to die when they appear? I’m still not clear how this works when the son dies—as the film seems to suggest the son dies because the Beggars have arrived. I don’t know what to make of that. (Or am I not understanding the scene properly?)
I’m wondering if anyone has ever found a “satisfactory” interpretation of Antichrist.
I have an idea of what you mean because of a few details that leaked out to me (which was annoying; and which is why I like knowing as little as possible about a film). But maybe I’m completely wrong, so…
I think the interpretation has potential. If we can tie up more loose ends, I think I’ll be satisfied with it.
Some loose ends off the top of my head:
>an interpretation of the man crawling under the tree; being almost buried;
>an interpretation of the tree, including the sex scene with the flailing arms under the tree;
>developing a better interpretation and understanding of the Three Beggars (including the choice of animals);
>the shoes on the son;
>an interpretation of the sharpening wheel screwed on the man’s leg;
There’s probably a lot more.
I feel like I read an interpretation on the three beggars somewhere, probably on this site. But I don’t remember what the interpretation was (other than it made sense to me).
>an interpretation of the man crawling under the tree; being almost buried;>an interpretation of the sharpening wheel screwed on the man’s leg;
Well, these obviously come from the woman going crazy, which we already covered, so do you mean you are looking for more behind the imagery? The shoes on the son I am pretty lost on, I can’t figure that out, but I remember when I first watched the film I found that scene incredibly creepy, so, being a horror film, there is the chance Von Trier stuck it in to scare the audience and also leave them scratching their heads.
I’m never sure whether people are trying to find out what the director intended or …. what they want things to mean or what they can manage to make things mean influenced by their own world view values experience etc
von Trier describes his creative process as being…
“like hanging a strip of flypaper: passing thoughts and images are sucked in and get stuck on the film…” which doesn’t give anyone searching for absolute meaning much to hang their hat on
i guess he would be greatly amused to see our writhing efforts to tie up loose ends into a tidy bundle sometimes
“>the shoes on the son;
>an interpretation of the sharpening wheel screwed on the man’s leg”
Think about it in terms of the effect reversed shoes and the heavy object bolted to leg would have on her son and her husband, respectively.
Well, these obviously come from the woman going crazy, which we already covered, so do you mean you are looking for more behind the imagery?
Von Trier spends some time with the man under the tree: the man lights a match, and he comes across a partially buried, haggard-looking raven(?). The bird caws and the man tries and seems to successfully crush the bird with a stone. A little later, the bird gets up and starts squawking again. The woman hears the squawking and finds the man. She tries to grab him, but eventually starts digging above him, which causes the cave to collapse on him. She eventually digs him out. (She helps him back to the shed—helping carry the stone while he drags himself.) This scene feels pregnant with meaning, doesn’t it? (If film has these scenes just to perplex the viewer, that would be really lame, imo.)
Same with bolting a grinding stone to his leg seems. The first thought I had was the way a wife is sometimes referred to as a “ball-and-chain.”
I’m never sure whether people are trying to find out what the director intended or …. what they want things to mean or what they can manage to make things mean influenced by their own world view values experience etc.
Here’s what I’m looking for—what the film intends and what the film is trying to say. This is related to the director, but it’s much more—as the film contains the intentions and meaning that the filmmakers aren’t aware of.
I don’t know if this is the same thing, but I’m also looking for the film’s central theme—what the film is about. This theme drives the film and brings all the parts together and gives it meaning. See what I mean? The interpretation that I’m suggesting might be this theme. If it is, it should illuminate the film in a way that makes it intelligible to all of us. If we re-watch the film after finding this theme, the film should make a lot more sense to us and be a richer experience. Does that make sense?
Two possible outcomes come to mind when I read this: 1) von Trier doesn’t know what he’s doing and the final film is a pretentious cinematic gallimaufry; 2) von Trier, through artistic intuition, allows him uses the images to produce a coherent film—emotionally and conceptually. I’m not sure which one applies to the film, but I’m leaning toward #2 right now.
We don’t have to tie up every loose end, but a good interpretation should be able provide meaning to almost every one. That’s what I believe, anyway. (I think we’re half way there, with no major snags.)
Well, the shoes ostensibly caused a deformity in the leg bones, which would probably hinder the boy in some way. The heavy object is a more severe and extreme version of that. What could that mean? If the males represent reason/logic and the females represent irrationality/emotion, then this might be a metaphor for the way emotion/irrationality cripples reason.
Or maybe the man/boy represents males, while the woman represents females. In this case, the shoes and the heavy object could symbolize the way women cripple men, in some way.
Or the film could combine both. (Is there anything else I’m missing?)
The first interpretation seems the most compelling to me. The second less so, not just because it’s distasteful, but I don’t get the sense that the film has a negative attitude towards women. If anything, the film seems to attack men, more than women.
as the film contains the intentions and meaning that the filmmakers aren’t aware of
yes – remember the chat on Another Year, people got quite hostile at the idea that Leigh might not be aware of all intention and meaning of his film
I’m not sure either re 1) and 2) and I don’t have the will or brain power to try to figure it all out but interested to read your assessments jazz
Have I not posted here before?
Yep (although I must confess that I now believe my interpretation wasn’t entirely correct).
I felt the same way, which is why I kept putting off analyzing the film. I finally just posted thoughts off the top of my head, and with the help of others, I think I’ve starting to cobble an interpretation that might help me understand the film. (If you’ve read my posts in the thread so far, I’d be interested in what you think of the interpretation—although it might be hard to form an opinion without remembering details; while writing in this thread, I went back and re-watched scenes, which helped a lot.)
I just recently dove into thread, while only skimming the posts before mine, so…at some point, I want to read through the existing threads.
I read through the thread. I think the interpretations offered by Landon and RLS have some good points, but they still feel “off” in some ways. (Maybe I’ll point out specific problems I had later on.)
Robert mentioned the Apollonian-Dionysian dichotomy, and when I read the wiki entry he linked, Camille Paglia’s usage of the concept (from her book Sexual Personae; I haven’t read the book) really struck me:
For Paglia, the Apollonian is light and structured while the Dionysian is dark and chthonic (she prefers Chthonic to Dionysian throughout the book, arguing that the latter concept has become all but synonymous with hedonism and is inadequate for her purposes, declaring that “the Dionysian is no picnic.”). The Chthonic is associated with females, wild/chaotic nature, and unconstrained sex/procreation. In contrast, the Apollonian is associated with males, clarity, celibacy and/or homosexuality, rationality/reason, and solidity, along with the goal of oriented progress: “Everything great in western civilization comes from struggle against our origins.” (emphasis added)
The use of “Chthonic” seems to fit a lot more than Dionysian for this film. Chthonic refers to the underworld, which fits with the Antichrist motif. Moreover, it helps us understand the depiction of nature—as the almost everything in nature is dark and sinister. (Chthonic also explains the fox saying, “Chaos reigns.” It also sheds a little light on the sex scene by the tree.)
The wiki entry continues:
She argues that there is a biological basis to the Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy, writing: “The quarrel between Apollo and Dionysus is the quarrel between the higher cortex and the older limbic and reptilian brains.”4 Moreover, Paglia attributes all the progress of human civilization to masculinity revolting against the Chthonic forces of nature, and turning instead to the Apollonian trait of ordered creation. The Dionysian is a force of chaos and destruction, which is the overpowering and alluring chaotic state of wild nature. Rejection of – or combat with – Chthonianism by socially constructed Apollonian virtues accounts for the historical dominance of men (including asexual and homosexual men; and childless and/or lesbian-leaning women) in science, literature, arts, technology and politics. As an example, Paglia states: "The male orientation of classical Athens was inseparable from its genius. Athens became great not despite but because of its misogyny.
I like thinking of Dafoe’s character as representing the Apollonian and Gainsbourg’s character representing the Chthonic. If this is an appropriate reading, then the film’s position at the end is that the Apollonian may win the battle, but it’s going to lose the war. This may not mean that the film thinks that the Chthonic is better, but the Apollonian, via hubris, shouldn’t underestimate the Chthonic—or it will be crushed. It can’t ignore or completely vanquish the Chthonic. Or it could be von Trier just giving the finger to his therapist. :) (I’m being a little facetious here, but a part me can imagine the film as von Trier’s response to his ultra-rational—and maybe, arrogant—therapist.)
Still, I’m not sure if the Apollonian-Chthonic dichotomy is enough to complete the interpretation.
>After the exercise where the He makes She walk on the grass (between rocks), the next day She is apparently cured. We see her splash in the stream, jump on the bridge and walk on the grass. She seems genuinely at peace and back in a normal state of mind. But when He and She hug, She says, “You can’t just be happy for me, can you?” and She runs away. The next day she seems gloomy again (not sure if she’s cured, but discouraged or back to being severely depressed). What happened here? Is He really not happy that She seems cured? If so, why? And does She return to depression? Does He’s reaction drives her to depression and insanity? Could this moment be based on a real life interaction between von Trier and his therapist or at least an representation of an incident?
>After She runs away, He comes across the fox with its guts hanging out, and the fox says, “Chaos reigns.” Then it starts to rain. So, I can understand if the Three Beggars (grief-deer, pain-fox and despair-raven; btw, there’s a fourth constellation—“corvus,” which is a raven, although I thought the raven represented despair. Is that wrong?) are a part of a Chthonic conception of nature, but what does it mean that someone must die when the Three Beggars appear? In this case the son’s death seems to cause the Three Beggars to appear—the son dies, She experiences grief, pain and despair—but the film makes it sound as if the death happens as a result of the Three Beggars appearing. Or does the appearance of the Three Beggars indicate that someone will die and then the full effects of grief, pain and despair will kick in? (Three figurines, with “grief,” “pain” and “despair” written on them, are on the table that the boy climbs on.
>I’m wondering if the nature (the natural world) represents the Chthonic. The expressions of nature in the film are dark and sinister, and I think the film shows nature exerting this dark influence on both characters.