Watching Melancholia at the Little

I headed out to The Little (240 East Ave.) because I wanted to see either Melancholia or Take Shelter. A guy I know who works there suggested Melancholia since it would be shown less next week and probably close sooner than Take Shelter, so I did. It's directed by Lars von Trier and, although I'm kind of a film nut, a little research reveals this is probably the first film of his that I've actually seen.

Central to the story — at least in a way — is the newly discovered planet Melancholia which is introduced in a stylistic opening scene destroying the Earth. Then we rewind a while to find Justine about to be married to Michael which doesn't go all that well. In the second part, we focus on Justine's sister Claire and the fallout from the wedding disaster. Oh, and by now we're approaching the film's introduction — although none of the characters have any certainty whether Melancholia will hit the earth or not.

On the whole, the film drenches the audience in melancholy, qua depression. As someone who navigates those waters often enough, it was a familiar sight for sure. I'm reminded of a time when some friends and I decided to go to a "depression screening" at UofR. We each took a self-assessment then talked with some medical students who assessed our situation. Naturally we were all recommended for professional help (not surprising, as we're all artist/creative-types). My one friend told his student doctor something like, "I kind of like the bitter edge it gives life." I tend to agree: although things get pretty dark sometimes, it certainly gives me a different perspective on things.

Likewise for Justine who spends her last hours in a strange state of unhappy blissful confidence that indeed all things will end. It's a state that only the depressed truly know, and I guess it's kind of the pot-of-steel at the end of a desaturated rainbow.

So I found Melancholia to be peculiarly familiar. It was quickly apparent to me to just soak in it and let it soak in. And although I wasn't depressed at the time, I got a chance to see it from yet another angle.

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