Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Melancholia" (2011)

Lars von Trier has a reputation as one of those types of film directors; the kind that make pretentious art films that create all the aversion for independent and art film. This movie is the very definition of such pretention.

The story was developed out of a personal experience von Trier went through with depression. He discovered, in his assessment of the situation, that depressed people are better suited to handle crisis. They expect the worst, so when it comes they don’t panic.

The idea that depression gives people in crisis strength might be an interesting one, but not the way he decided to handle it. For this story, we are presented with the worst case scenario… the end of all life on earth. However, we are only given perspective on this event through the lives of a super rich, super self absorbed family where our primary character is annoyingly and groundlessly depressed. She sabotages her one “perfect” life and literally can’t cope with bathing herself, until the end is nigh. Then she becomes super sufficient. She even receives a form of supernatural understanding and vision to be able to tell others that there is no supernatural, no meaning, and nothing after life!?!

The whole film is more collection of disjointed surreal moments that make minimal sense; considering the overarching themes of the film are minimal and nonsensical. Unless you consider the moments like the one where Dunst’s character is compelled by the approaching doom to go outside and lie in some sort of naked ecstasy. (Well, we know what sense that scene had for von Trier, but it hardly means anything for the story.)

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