There’s always one film that compels even the most hardened critics to run screaming from a screening.

Danish director Lars von Trier’s “Antichrist” — starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a couple grieving over the death of their young son by indulging in an orgy of sado-masochistic sex in a forest retreat — looks like that film, the bete noir of this year’s Cannes.

With a glimpse of sexual penetration and genital mutilation, von Trier’s film came in for media criticism at Monday’s press conference.

Renowned as a enfante terrible of European cinema, predictably von Trier shrugged it off.

“I don’t think I have to justify it…I don’t think I owe anyone an explanation. I never had a choice — it’s the hand of God, I’m afraid,” von Trier said of a film that has given bloggers and reporters here their first really juicy story.