And so I FINALLY saw a great movie: Melancholia by Lars von Trier. It opened in Paris this week and a friend was so excessively excited about the existential issues tackled by this movie that I couldn't ignore it. These days it is extremely rare that art gets close to the big screens, but when it happens it feels really great.
I liked the rawness of von Trier's Antichrist (I loved The Idiots the most!), but Melancholia is so much broader: it is existential, it is psychological, it is socio-cultural, it touches the malaise of our society without sniffing to psychoanalysis, and it constantly sparkles with philosophy.
I believe Lars wanted it to be operatic in form: the opening is like an operatic overture with a magnificent imagery, while the proper film is split into two parts (two acts) - Justine and Claire. It unfolds in so many non-trivial directions without ever becoming pretentious: the story-line, the dialogues, the unspoken messages, the collision of all sorts of characters, our inability to deal with at least one aspect of our life... everything is in there. Human depression is in the center of it all but it is in no way trivial.
Lars von Trier chose the overture to Tristan und Isolde [and nothing else!] as a musical fil rouge of his movie that pops up every time the storyline is about to escape the rational grasp and embark on the romantic trips.
In the end I felt completely stunned -- overwhelmed by an experience that was very close to my best evenings at the opera...
Lars always lets his actors/actresses be the artists, which Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg more than confirmed in this film. The rest of the cast is fantastic too. Whatever part of this gem-movie you touch it is a piece of art!
I do not want to spoil your rare great cinematic moments by unveiling the details of the story. I don't even think you need to see the trailer [to make the impact of the film on you stronger], but if you are really curious here is the two minutes long official trailer:
Try and see this film in a theater with a good sound system because it is important... OK it always is, but for this film it is more important than for many others.