NZFF Day 15

My most looked forward to film of the festival. Oh yes, it’s Melancholia.

Thursday 11 August


Okay, I’m biased. I like Lars Von Trier’s films. I haven’t seen most of them, but I intend to. I mean, the man bought me one of my favourite films of all time, Dogville. When I watched Antichrist, I decided, whilst beautifully shot, I would not watch it again (and I love horror films, I like gorno, I love being challenged and shown disturbing stuff in the cinema). I couldn’t work out whether Antichrist was pro-misogyny, anti-misogyny, or just presenting misogyny (actually, it definitely wasn’t anti-misogyny). With that in mind, I was hoping that Melancholia would be more Dogville than Antichrist.

I spent most of Melancholia getting frustrated with Kirsten Dunst’s character, Justine. Granted, when in cinema do you see someone with clinical/manic depression? Granted, living with someone with depression that bad would be frustrating. But still, the character was obnoxious and annoying.

Part 1 of the film is Justine’s wedding. Where she does such things like be 4 hours late to the reception, and takes a bath when she’s meant to cut the cake, leaving her guests waiting. Part 2 is months later, her depression worsened. Oh, and there was a planet called Melancholia that was hidden behind the sun, which is now on a path towards Earth. It could hit us, it might not. Von Trier early on shows the Melancholia hitting earth, killing everything on it, and then shows Melancholia apparently missing Earth. So it’s not necessarily clear whether it’s going to hit or pass by.


When it hits, everything goes black. The sound designers had fun having the sound of the Earth being destroyed roll through the theatre. It is completely black. Will there be a third act? … no. The Earth has been destroyed. The credits roll. The person cracking up laughing… yeah, that was me.

I now appreciate Antichrist more. At least it made me feel something. At least it took me on a journey.

I think my friend Stephen said it best when his FB status was “Well my days of not taking Lars Von Trier seriously are certainly coming to a middle.”

Lars… please get back on form. I fell asleep during Melancholia. You can do better. I know you can.

Which good Von Triers should I watch, to make me forget Antichrist and Melancholia?

Published by phetheringtonnz

Film Producer, Director, Lecturer. From NZ based in London.

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