Please do not get me wrong: Trier means most of the things he says with this movie: and he is propably one of the 9 greatest filmmakers in history. I am just not sure that people realize how much this movie is a rebellion against certain turgid, self - important elements in Danish culture. He uses clichès and sentimentality to express ideas that are quite complex and clever: and even passionate. Its something Danes usually do not admit to be, but are actually quite good at: just look at that other Danish catholic convert, Niels Steensen.
(Not that i am that much for Catholicism, but it does make for some fine stories).
Two minor points:
1): I know people might "blank it out" due to ingrained stereotypes ("Footlose" was a charming movie, but its theme mayhave become slightly, well, over - used?): Triers main villains are NOT the Presbytarians: he establishes their supiriority to id - driven types pretty early on in the movie (its the "liberated" types who end up killing the main character too, come to think of it).
2): no, the movie is not "misogynist": yes, she actually knows what shes doing. People do, sometimes: even women (though a lot of people seem not to think so).