“This is the way the world ends not with a bang but, a whisper”- T. S. Eliot
Famous words from a poet laureate that also is an apt description of the new psychological disaster Indie film that opened this weekend, “Melancholia“. Now playing exclusively at the Cinemagic Manor Theater in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh, PA.
Lars von Trier, the movie’s creator and the maker of such influential films as “Breaking The Waves”, “Dogville” & “Antichrist”, returns with his latest that received both praise and folly at this year’s Cannes Film Fest.
Praise for this film’s lead Actress Kirsten Dunst and folly for the provocative Director. He made inflamatory remarks involving nazism during a press interview leading to organizers asking him to leave the prestigious event.
Though a firestorm of press about the incident certainly didn’t hurt this inventive Drama that concerns not only the end of the world but, the disintergrating relationship between a beautifully depressed bride (Dunst), named Justine, and her pragmatic sister, Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg).
Opening with a sumptous five minute tableau of apocryphal images, almost painterly– that foreshadow characters’ dismal endings and earth’s final moments. Then, it splits into two parts. First, a wedding held at an incredible estate, complete with a golf course & horse stables, thrown by Justine’s Boss (Stellan Skarsgard) for his son (Alexander Skarsgard), who also happens to be the groom.
From there a newly discovered planet, dubbed Melancholia, seems to be hurtling toward earth on a collision course, driving away the the wedding party and guests (the briefly seen cast that includes Keifer Sutherland, John Hurt, Charlotte Rampling and Udo Keir) & starting part two. Leaving the two sisters alone to emotionally deal with their imminent end, which causes Justine to become calm & composed, while her rational sibling begins to unravel.
Leading to what seems to be von Trier’s main point; that people who are inclined to be despondent may be better equipped to handle life’s biggest tragedies; as opposed to more immutable persons. This might be very cathartic for the Director (who he himself has been diagnosed with this lifelong malady) but, is no fun for the viewer.
Beautiful and sublime– though otherwise completely empty. This film can’t provide any explanation of the effects such a climatic circumstance would have on many. Unless of course, you count how a family of three would deal with this apocalyptic event. A depressing movie about depression that ends depressingly with a dumbed-down bang to a big disaster.