Wow, I just realized that is a very depressing title of a post. But then again, almost everything director Lars Von Trier puts his hands on has emerged as an assault on our mental stability. Dancer in the Dark, his biggest hit from eleven years ago, focused on the uphill battle of hope in hopeless times. The followup, Dogville, will trash all of your optimism for the goodness of mankind in its cataclysmic ending. And Antichrist, which Danica elegantly reviewed earlier this year, emerges as a horror movie where the enemy is ones psyche. While there may not be a direct link between each film, I find Von Trier to be a director who projects his views of human nature into each of his feature releases. It is an odd juxtaposition. The cinematography is beautiful and the pace near perfect. Yet at times you cannot watch anymore as it scars your psyche with its piercing imagery and tone.
Melancholia, for better or for worse, follows in the same vein. In a year when doomsday films have reigned supreme, Von Trier has taken the risk of tying a romantic, cerebral drama with the end of the world. And I mean a romantic drama in the vein of Tristan und Isolde (referenced early on in the film), where beautiful melodic touches combined with dissonance in a story that challenges the importance of emotions against unforgiving fatality. Under that backdrop, Melancholia appears to be a film not about the end of the world or love. Maybe it is more literal: that untraceable melancholy feeling, despondence when facing the inevitable fate of our lives.
Melancholia comes out, stateside, on 11/11/11. A proper review will follow, but I urge you to get ready for one of the more thought provoking movies of 2011.