Written by Lars von Trier
Directed by Lars von Trier
Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg
The film Melancholia is an exploration of the human condition regarding death. There are three characters in this film, a married rich couple (Gainbourg & Sutherland) and a single woman (Dunst) that all interact in very interesting ways.
The film is broke up into 3 parts. The first 10 minutes of the film is a slow motion montage of highly graphic images depicting elements of nature acting in unusual ways with each character of the film. The soundtrack to this and most of the film is from Richard Wagner’s Prelude to his opera Tristn und Isolde.
Part 2 is a wedding reception where Dunst is feeling like she can’t go on with the charade of her marriage.
Part 3 is the main act of the film that is devoted to a planet called ‘Melancholia’ that has been hiding behind the sun and is now immerging and going to pass by earth. Although Dunst’s character believes melancholia is on a collision course with earth.
Through out this film the theme of despair and hopelessness in incredibly apparent and is the main conflict with each character. Sutherland represent the blind optimist, Dunst the depressed pessimist, and Gainsbourg the realist who has healthy doubts and fears.
This film has poetic undertones and fantastic images of elegance and beauty but is then mirrored with dark undertones of misery and desperate isolation.
Bottom 5 rating. This film is well done and speaks to me on a basic human level, which makes me want to recommend it as a great film…
BUT I’m afraid Lars von Trier, as a person, has destroyed this film for me. I don’t know much about him or his body of work but the little I do know I don’t like and I don’t want to look much deeper then that. He may have started out with good intentions but somewhere along the way he went terribly wrong. He seems like a skilled filmmaker but I’m assuming he suffers from personal issues like depression.
*Disclaimer: Everything about this review is my personal opinion and should not be taken as fact.
**Disclaimer: Lars Von Trier’s comments at the Cannes Film Festival were "unacceptable, intolerable and contrary to the ideals of humanity…”(1) and Triers was declared persona non grata which means he was unwelcome at the festival.
(1) Hoyle, Ben (May 20, 2011). "Von Trier gets kicked out of Cannes after his 'I am a Nazi' joke fails to raise a laugh". The Times (London): p. 9.