Sunday, November 20, 2011

Melancholia (2011)

Director: Lars von Trier. Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgård, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgård, Udo Kier. 136 min. Rated R. Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany. Drama/Sci-Fi.

Dunst is the depressed bride who can "see" things, and around her wedding date, there's controversy whether the planet Melancholia which is sling-shotting towards Earth, will fly by, or hit Earth and end life. So the films studies how people living in their isolated countryside mansion react to these possibilities, and then poses the obvious question: How would you react, if you knew the world would come to an end by tomorrow? The final scene with its crescendo soundtrack is one of the most awe-inspiring moments I've experienced in cinema.

Mo says:


  1. A powerful and weird picture of The End of the world(weird is the exact word of Charlotte Gainsbourg about movie!)....2012 is close and so we must prepare ourselves and answer your question as well!I don't know why the movie remindede me' seventh seal"...maybe because of main concept....and somehow simmilar to Tree of life again another sexual-meaningful scene ..(Alarm : from here, maybe some spoilers!)
    My mouth was open when naked Dunset was lying in front of the planet (symbole of GOD or Death or Destiney or truth or whatever)Was she preparing herself for confronting with reality or as another sign of detachment from life's standarts?I read this link about movie from Von Trier perspective..
    his analysis is as tough as his works! but this sentence is amazing
    "The wedding is Justine's last attempt to fight her way back into life instead of longing herself out of it.However, her longings are too great. Her hankering for truth is too colossal"
    I noticed with creation 4 characters, Von Trier beautifully described 4 possible reaction to destiney-truth : innocenscent unawareness (child) , awareness(justine), deny of awreness(claire) and escape from awareness (calire's husband) and all have nothing to do at last but giving up ....I didn't get what 's the phylosophy of that wooden frame of tent where they sit in at the end ? maybe shows they go back to their ioigin (Native-Indian american ?) or just for getting close and unity ? I didn't get .

    Ps: I just saw The Descendants . I only say : Perfect...awsome..highly recommended for watching soon! and looking forward to reading your input.

  2. Dear Maryam,

    To have any discussion about "Melancholia", I would first recommend people to read Roger Ebert's excellent review of the movie:

    I think Ebert nails it. The entire core of the movie, is not people freaking out or acting like idiots at the end of the world. It's about people who are confronted with a calamity so huge, they've resorted to complete denial. The mother's hateful speech during the wedding, or the boss' bizarre actions (just because the bride would not give him a tagline for his company's advertisement) are all examples of people who are very worried they'll die in a few days, but don't want to accept it. Complete denial.

    The only exception here, of course, is the Kirsten Dunst character (adding to the Bride of Frankenstein, and Uma Thurman's Bride, she adds another great bride to movie history). With all her depressed/illogical acts, she is actually the ONLY logical/pragmatic character throughout the story. She knows Melancholia will hit Earth soon, as a result of which she goes into severe depression (even on her wedding night), but then becomes free of all earthly attachments, and acts extremely wise. That's why lying naked under the night sky makes complete sense. She has become a free soul, without any consideration for social conventions.

    That's how the final scene under the stick tent comes into play. I don't think the tent itself is the core concept here; I think it's the idea of holding hands and enjoying life till the last moment is what matters. As opposed to some of von Trier's previous dark and depressing movies, I think this was one of his most encouraging about the value of life itself.

    This an extremely intelligent movie, made by an extremely intelligent (and often eccentric) filmmaker.

    PS: Haven't seen "The Descendants" yet, but heard it's creating a lot of Oscar buzz. Thanks for the recommendation. Can't wait to see it.

  3. Thank you for good explanation. you're right , R.Ebert's analysis is quite interesting, I forgot to read already ,especially the idea of exchange of personallity of characters amazed metotally.
    Happy ending as you noticed is exactly what Von Trier told about final scene. I didn't get it ...(you told the same for The Devil's Rejects about its happy ending...I didn't get it too).But you can say that again:
    "This an extremely intelligent movie, made by an extremely intelligent (and often eccentric) filmmaker.

  4. I believe the difference between the heroes' death at the end of "Melancholia" and "The Devil's Rejects" (or similar movies), is that the heroes in the former don't have any choice in their demise, but in the latter they "decide" to die. That creates significantly different human reactions.