Emerging from the publicity nightmare, or possibly triumph against all odds, (referring to his scandalous speech at Cannes) showman and shock artist Lars Von Trier’s latest film to hit cinemas is Melancholia, a journey through an internalised apocalypse as a planet (called Melancholia) threatens to destroy earth.
With superb acting by Kirsten Dunst (who won the Best Actor award at Cannes for her performance) and Charlotte Gainsbourg, who featured in Trier’s last film Anti-Christ, the film promises a torturous study of emotional dire straits.
In a long line of films dedicated to depression, his own being the precursor and inspiration for the chronicles, Trier steps on familiar ground with Melancholia. However, the dry humour of the script lends to the humanity of the envisaging, and the film’s bitter-sweet dreamscape imaginings of earth’s destruction are impressive, as are the graphics (which are rumoured for Oscar nominations). Props must also be given to excellent cinematography by award-winning Manuel Alberto Claro, which lends to the feeling of the collapse of hope- there are no happy endings with Trier!
The drama centres around a disaster wedding reception, abandoned when Justine (Dunst) and her sister Claire (Gainsbourg) turn manic depressive and obsess about the possible pending apocalypse. Their breakdown is heightened by a grand Wagnerian soundtrack, which weighs on the action, pulling the audience to their own sense of inescapable doom.
The film split the audience at Cannes, with the Telegraph praising Trier for a ‘mesmerising, visually gorgeous and often-moving’ film, and the Guardian/Timeout who claimed it was ‘tedious and exasperatingly redundant’ and like ‘wading through glue’.
Never the shrinking violet, Trier’s next film Nymphomaniac has been reported to be the subject of child sexuality and the erotic life of a woman, no be released in hardcore and softcore versions. It will no doubt attract the attention of the masses as eyes turn to the most controversial filmmaker of the moment.