Yet another polarizing piece from Lars Von Trier!  The ‘like it hate it’ syndrome applies strongly with MELANCHOLIA. I fall firmly into the ‘like it’ camp.  I am not alone, as it was nominated for the Palme d’Or in Cannes this year and Kirsten Dunst won the Best Actress Award for it.  In all it has won 27 Awards with 29 nominations.

 

Lars Von Trier may be the gloomiest Dane since Hamlet and his pessimistic view
of humanity and existence is powerfully running though this film, but its beauty is undeniable.  The Cinematography is ravishing.  The visual tableaux and semi surrealistic shots he lays before us are wonderful.

 

The film opens with a series of seemingly strange and unsetting shots that are
accompanied by the music from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde.  The story then commences in two parts.  The first is titled ‘Justine’, the second ‘Claire’.  Justine is Kirsten Dunst, all alabaster and shiny in her wedding gown en route to be married to Michael (Alexander Skarsgard) at the majestically rich mansion of her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her husband John (Kiefer Sutherland).  You have met dysfunctional families on screen before, with members bitterly at odds with others and so individually eccentric and peculiar they may be certifiably mad.  But this family takes some beating.  The mother is played by Charlotte Rampling and Justine’s father is John Hurt.  Stellan Skarsgard is also at the wedding.  He is Justine’s boss at her advertizing agency job.  The wedding celebration is a disaster and Justine unravels mentally and emotionally.

 

At the same time as these joyless events are underway, a planet named Melancholia is hurtling at great speed on what appears to be a catastrophic collision course with Earth.





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