Anti-Christ: Tragedy, Farce or Game?

Jan Simons


Lars von Trier's movies can be seen as a series of iterations in an infinitely repeated prisoner's dilemma. After testing the logic of this game, at the core of which is the dilemma of cooperation or conflict, at the middle level at which an individual confronts a community up till Dogville, he has transposed the game to the level of social systems in Manderlay and the level of the minimal social unit, the couple (or rather, the failed family) in Anti-Christ. The story is the Oedipus myth reversed and fit into the logic of the prisoner's dilemma which is, one could argue, the mathematical model of a Hobbesian world view. In that sense it could be called Von Trier's Anti-Oedipus.

Moreover, this is the first film in which Von Trier fully embraces digital technologies. It is as if he as a filmmaker acts like the male protagonist in Anti-Christ, and assumes the role of the Anti-Christ in order to become a Savior, since digital technologies and special effects are aligned with 'evil' in this movie.


Von Trier; Anti-Christ; game theory; virtuality; digital technologies

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