Melancholia 2011 ***


Opening with a series of breath-taking apocalyptic tableau, Lars von Trier’s is an end-of-the-world movie with a difference; with earth on a collision course likely to wipe out human life, there’s no last-minute rocketships to the rescue, just a numbing acceptance and a willingness to find an accommodation with what remains of life. Sisters Justine (Kristen Dunst) and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) are already estranged, and the spiritual meaning of Justine’s chaotic wedding day is compromised by her inner distress. Von Trier pulls together a remarkable cast including John Hurt and Charlotte Rampling as guests while Justine wrecks her own special day. But as the end becomes night, the sisters come to a genuine understanding in the face of certain death. Melancholia is a story of depression, but presented as a reasonable reaction to the accelerated collapse of the world we know, and it’s metaphorical strength makes it a poignant, unforgettable watch.


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