Melancholia

Similar in tone to the opener of his previous film ‘Antichrist’ Lars Von Trier’s ‘Melancholia’ shows the viewer, in super slow motion to the sound of Tristan und Isolde by Wagner, a seemingly unrelated selection of images which will all become clear as the film progresses. Dunst and Gainsbourg play sisters Justine and Claire, two women who clearly suffer from depression in different forms, Claire has pushed hers aside by filling her life with money and family whereas Justine can’t hide the grip hers has on her even on her wedding day. As it is announced that a planet called Melancholia is on a collision course with earth the two react very differently Justine embracing her impending doom and subsequent unavoidable release from the darkness she feels inside, Claire on the other hand slowly unravels as she is unable to comprehend that everything she knows will soon change and its completely out of her control. The film itself is a curious mix of nauseous handheld Dogme camera work and overblown grand visualizations not dissimilar to Malik’s ‘Tree of Life’ with the aforementioned soundtrack and stunning performances from the two leading ladies gripping you until the end. Of course this being Von Trier he wants to make you feel and physically experience what you are seeing and at times this can be quite punishing for the viewer. But those able to stomach it will be rewarded with a deep, dark and beautiful meditation that proves, persona non grata or not, that Von Trier is truly a visionary filmmaker.

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