So last night I attended the New York Film Festival premiere of Lars Von Trier’s “Antichrist” and I figure I’d relay an eerie incident that happened in the midst of the film’s intense third act. Sometime in between on-screen mutilations, I hear this loud moan coming from behind me, followed by a loud thud. Immediately the entire audience at Alice Tully Hall was in a frenzy, most of us unsure as to what happened (I had thought someone fell off the balcony considering how loud the thud was), though it later became clear a man had a seizure. People starting screaming “Call an Ambulance!”; “Call 9/11” (including the familiar voice of actress Lili Taylor, who was apparently beside the man) as Charlotte Gainsbourg continued on her psychotic onscreen mission. Finally the film was shut off and the house lights came on, and 4 or 5 policemen entered the theater, helping the man (who was apparently okay) out. And then, after a few moments of whispering between audience members trying to figure out what had happened, “Antichrist” came back on.
I don’t know if “Antichrist” caused the seizure, but it considering the point in the film in which it occurred, it seemed like that was the case. After the screening, people recalled a similar incident back in 1994, when “Pulp Fiction” screened at NYFF. After the scene with Uma Thurman and the syringe, someone had a heart attack.
Either way, the incident certainly heightened the rest of the film’s intensity… And though I’m sure IFC Films would never stoop to exploiting someone’s health officially, the taglines sort of write themselves.
[UPDATE: I’m now hearing conflicting gossip that it was a panic attack, so that could very well be the case.]