Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Empire Blogs
Cannes 2011

Back to all blogs Comment Now

Melancholia

Posted on Wednesday May 18, 2011, 16:14 by Damon Wise in Cannes 2011
Melancholia

I can't say I had my usual high hopes for Melancholia; I spoke to Lars Von Trier via Skype just a few weeks ago, and, while he was on fantastic form, he seemed to have a few doubts about his latest (“I'm just afraid that I've made a film that's far too nice,” he laughed). And he has; though there's no mutilation or hardcore sex, Melancholia is mostly disappointing because it just doesn't demand enough of you. Kirsten Dunst stars as Justine, a depressive woman who's just got married, and the first half of the movie deals with her wedding, which threatens to end in disaster. The second half focuses on her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who is somewhat concerned by the huge planet, the Melancholia of the title, which, although scientists say otherwise, seems to be on a collision course with Earth.

The first ten minutes are breathtaking, offering the whole movie in mini-bites to the operatic strains of music from Wagner's Tristan And Isolde. But as soon as it settles into its story, Melancholia becomes talky, uninvolving and strangely stilted, with such ungainly lines as, “You've been looking at the internet!” The result is a Persona-style meditation on depression, with Justine/Claire acting out the two halves of the director's psyche – one half normal, caring, frightened, the other half resigned to death and even, in a chilling way, rather looking forward to it.

True to form, the film does not wimp out and Von Trier does not shortchange us in the final, simultaneously horrific and beautiful scene. But the emotions it leaves us with are not those he has presented before in his multiple masterpieces Dancer In The Dark, Breaking The Waves or Antichrist. The women are little more than ciphers, and Dunst, though surprisingly good as the withdrawn and often vicious Justine (a part written for Penelope Cruz), gets less to do than any Von Trier heroine has ever done before. Strangely, though, I rather like the wistful responses it does generate: suitably for a film about melancholy, that's precisely what it engenders.


Login or register to comment.

Comments

1 Acho
Posted on Wednesday May 18, 2011, 17:24
Any word from the press conference? Hearing reports of Von Trier coming out with "I'm a Nazi" and Hitler-sympathising comments before the moderator cut it off??

2 Damon_Wise
Posted on Sunday May 22, 2011, 00:06
More on this will follow in the magazine later; I met Lars after the banning and heard his views on the press conference. He gave me his story about the reality behind his horribly garbled statements and he fully accepts that he misjudged the situation, much like a really bad stand-up comedian. Anyone who knows about Lars' life will know that he was speaking ironically, and in his second language too. Unfortunately, the press at the Cannes film festival is no longer so specialised that everyone realised this. (His mistake.)

For the record, the so-called moderator didn't really do very much to cut him off (as you can see from the footage online). Which rather calls into question the use of the word "moderator", don't you think?

Log in below, or register to post comments
Username:
Password:
Remember Me:

CATEGORIES

Empire States (440)

Under The Radar (335)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (36)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


RECENT POSTS

Final report: The Kid With A Bike, Le Havre, Michael, Walk Away Renee, The Murder, Oslo 31 August
By Damon Wise

This Must Be The Place
By Damon Wise

The Artist
By Damon Wise

Drive
By Damon Wise

Cannes Videblogisode #9
By Amar Vijay

Cannes Videblogisode #8
By Amar Vijay

Cannes Videblogisode #7
By Amar Vijay

Cannes In Pictures: Volume 6
By Amar Vijay

Cannes Videblogisode #6
By Amar Vijay

The Skin I Live In
By Damon Wise


RECENT COMMENTS

Drive
"So it's more of an 80s homage? Judging by the title, as well as the theme, I thought this would be a"  Manfrendshensindshen
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #6
"Good 'un!"  Manfrendshensindshen
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #8
"I live my life like I'm in a Carry On film, Megan."  Chris Hewitt
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #8
"My bra just fell off LOL amazing Carry On film vibe there. Have to say though, Chris is scarier when"  megank13
Read comment

Cannes In Pictures: Volume 6
"★good★ look love--- w w w - jordansforking - c o m   qeedsss
Read comment

Melancholia
"More on this will follow in the magazine later; I met Lars after the banning and heard his views on "  Damon_Wise
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #6
"Heh hee hee hee. So, Chris, twitter profile pic now, right?"  Ethanial
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #4
"Is that the young Mike Cimino playing "Neil LaBute?"  Manfrendshensindshen
Read comment

Cannes In Pictures: Volume 4
"Fair point usually but in that dress I think we should make an exception for Cheryl"  ErnestWilde
Read comment

Cannes Videblogisode #4
"Aha. Sam informs me that he had to cross the line as his original shooting angle would have ended up"  Chris Hewitt
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

Cannes 2011: Tree Of Life: First Reaction
13 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #2
8 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #5
7 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #4
5 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #6
3 comments

Cannes In Pictures: Volume 4
3 comments

Cannes 2011: The Tree Of Life
2 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #1
2 comments

Melancholia
2 comments

Cannes Videblogisode #8
2 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (298)
Helen O'Hara (181)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (21)
Owen Williams (21)
Simon Braund (6)
Nev Pierce (5)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
David Parkinson (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
Ian Nathan (1)

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Watch: Night At The Museum's Cast Share Their Favourite Robin Williams Performance
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ben Kingsley pay tribute to the actor

Watch: Jack O'Connell And Luke Treadaway Talk Unbroken
On POWs, panto and how to name your bomber

Review Of 2014: The 15 Best Cameos Of The Year
Our favourite one-scene movie-stealers

8 Things You Can Learn From The BFI's Star Wars Exhibition
The original crawl, a 'grotesque' villain and a very different princess

Review Of The Year: 40 Worst Posters Of 2014
One-sheets that you'd rather not have on your wall

Hobbit Q&As: Ian McKellen On Finally Saying Goodbye And Farewell To Gandalf The Grey
Read our exclusive Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies interviews

Review Of 2014: The Best TV Moments Of The Year
We celebrate the small screen's biggest scenes

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)