Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

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dad1153
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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#376 Post by dad1153 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:59 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:Just watched it on Netflix. Kicking myself a little for not having seen it on a bigger screen.
You should have. Even at Angelika's postcard-size theater screens the impact of the opening montage and final scene alone (audio as well as video) just blew my mind.
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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#377 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:45 pm

Well, really kicking myself since I just discovered that there is an arthouse theater here that probably did show it during it's initial run. Once I get a kick-ass 70" flat-screen, that is the first Blu-ray I'll buy or put in.

This is the first von Trier movie I've seen, and hands-down it is better than Tree Of Life. I wouldn't have said it otherwise if the comparison hadn't been brought up, but Lars' use of sci-fi tropes and imagery were more linear here than what Malick had done. More down-to-earth, no pun intended.
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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#378 Post by ianthemovie » Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:22 pm

I re-watched this tonight for the first time since seeing it in the theater last fall, and I just noticed all of the business with the 19th hole on the golf course. It struck me as yet another joke von Trier plays on the self-important know-it-all Kiefer Sutherland character, who insists not once but twice during Part 1 that the golf course has 18 holes!

I was also struck by how similar Sutherland's character is to Willem Dafoe's in Antichrist. The scenes in which Sutherland is playing the part of the learned professional, trying to calm down the physically distraught Charlotte Gainsbourg (and insisting that Dunst's mental illness is something she can control), are remarkably similar to the scenes of Dafoe doing the same things to Gainsbourg in Antichrist. These two films are almost inextricable in their doubling of key scenes, themes, motifs, lines (Dunst in Melancholia: "The world is evil"; Gainsbourg in Antichrist: "Nature is Satan's church"). Since von Trier's films often break down into threes (albeit some of them unfinished) I wouldn't be surprised if his next film, The Nymphomaniac, completes the triptych, with Gainsbourg being the through-line in the cast.

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zedz
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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#379 Post by zedz » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:14 am

ianthemovie wrote:I re-watched this tonight for the first time since seeing it in the theater last fall, and I just noticed all of the business with the 19th hole on the golf course. It struck me as yet another joke von Trier plays on the self-important know-it-all Kiefer Sutherland character, who insists not once but twice during Part 1 that the golf course has 18 holes!
Golf courses do have 18 holes. If there's a 19th hole appearing in the film, it's a case of von Trier messing with us (for whatever reason), not one of the characters making a foolish mistake. "The 19th Hole" is the bar where golfers go and get plastered after a game, not an actual place.

If Sutherland's character was insisting that his soccer field only had two goalposts, or his tennis court only had one net, we wouldn't dismiss him as a 'self-important know-it-all' simply because von Trier happened to offer us a trippy glimpse of a triangular soccer field, or elongated, double-netted tennis court at some other point.

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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#380 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:23 am

zedz wrote:If Sutherland's character was insisting that his soccer field only had two goalposts, or his tennis court only had one net, we wouldn't dismiss him as a 'self-important know-it-all' simply because von Trier happened to offer us a trippy glimpse of a triangular soccer field, or elongated, double-netted tennis court at some other point.
Unless of course that's meant to signify the character's inability to apprehend the unusual, the fantastic, the sublime, something like that, because he's too busy assuming and insisting that reality matches convention to notice these things even when they are right there to be seen.

A possibility with Melancholia (tho' von Trier messing with us is equally possible, it being von Trier after all).

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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#381 Post by zedz » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:47 am

It's Sutherland's house (and golf course) isn't it? I assumed he would have put the golf course in there in the first place.

Also, that reading of his character seems at odds with his behaviour towards Melancholia itself, the unusual / sublime / horrific reality of which he arguably accepts more completely than any other character, and the small matter of an extra golf hole here or there is a ridiculously trivial detail to get all worked up over compared to the planet that's about to annihilate you.

I have no idea what purpose any '19th hole' stuff might serve (if indeed it is intended to serve a purpose and not just be an incongruous gag - possibly even one perpetrated by a character), but I don't think the theory that it's been specifically inserted into the film to symbolically scold a particular character (who does more than enough at the level of character to invite our criticism) holds water.

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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#382 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:52 am

I think it's his course, did a Nigel Tufnel and put one more hole in.

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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#383 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:56 am

Yeah, I didn't really have a coherent interpretation to offer. It just occurred to me in the moment and I typed it out. That bit could easily be a joke, the 19th hole being of course where you go when the game is over (nudge, nudge).

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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#384 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:01 am

It has been too long since I last saw the film to say for sure but could this mythical '19th hole' be the area of the course where Justine goes to urinate and look at the stars during the wedding, and perhaps where they build the flimsy stick wigwam at the end? Suggesting that Sutherland could never be part of that circle even if he had not committed suicide since he never actually went onto the golf course. And that perhaps it was important for him to have committed suicide because by abandoning Claire it was the only way that she and her son would have left the house for the golf course to spend their last moments togther with Justine?

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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#385 Post by ianthemovie » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:47 am

Mr Sausage wrote: Unless of course that's meant to signify the character's inability to apprehend the unusual, the fantastic, the sublime, something like that, because he's too busy assuming and insisting that reality matches convention to notice these things even when they are right there to be seen.

A possibility with Melancholia (tho' von Trier messing with us is equally possible, it being von Trier after all).
This was basically how I interpreted it. Obviously there are 18 holes on a typical golf course, and obviously Sutherland's character should know exactly how many are on his own--and yet von Trier pointedly shows us a flag marking a 19th hole not only during the surreal prologue sequence, but also later during the hail storm scene. It's an absurdist touch, but seems to me a way of emphasizing that as much as Sutherland claims to know/understand the world around him (at one point literally saying something to the effect of "Trust me, I'm a scientist!") he's blind to even the most obvious things when they happen to fall outside the realm of expectation or convention.

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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#386 Post by manicsounds » Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:45 am

If you listen to the commentary, the 19th hole topic is brought up.

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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#387 Post by Zot! » Fri May 23, 2014 5:43 pm

I should know better, but I've become of those lunatics who cares about packaging apparently, because I just bought this.

Image

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domino harvey
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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#388 Post by domino harvey » Fri May 23, 2014 5:47 pm

Pretty cool, who put it out?

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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#389 Post by Zot! » Fri May 23, 2014 5:59 pm

Sorry no link, http://plainarchive.com/collections/plain-archive

yeah grab 'em while you can, I guess their are only 50 left? Or is that just some South Korean propoganda. I dunno, but this was a favorite, so I figured I would spring for it. 68 page book (English Translation inclusive) is nice too.

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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#390 Post by swo17 » Sat Jun 07, 2014 4:28 pm

I got that set from Plain Archive in the mail today, and it is indeed a lovely package. PQ looks comparable to the Magnolia release, which is not surprising since all the extras are the same. The menu screen is all in Korean but not difficult to navigate, and Korean subs are the default (though they are removable). Not that any of this particularly matters though, since it's already all sold out.

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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#391 Post by Antarctica » Thu Dec 31, 2015 2:52 pm

There is a great contrast between the commotion of the wedding and the quiet during Claire's story.
SpoilerShow
It's calming when the mansion is vacated, but I feel something else I can't describe. "Creepy" isn't the right word, but it may be similar. Whatever that feeling was, it stood out for me in this film. Maybe "stillness" best describes it. I felt it when Claire adjusts the wire.

Image

I don't know why, but another image that stands out is the Nestle chocolate sauce on the table outside during Claire's story. This may be a strange, obsessive observation that the filmmakers didn't think about, but it seemed so weird to be enjoying Nestle chocolate sauce when the world was ending.
I did think the wedding went on a bit too long, but overall thought the film was moving, unique, and beautiful.

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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#392 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:12 pm



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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#394 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:44 pm

If you can't trust the distinguished New York Post, who can you trust?

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Re: Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

#395 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Mar 18, 2020 3:58 pm

I may have more to say in a specific reading on this film at a later time, but it's one that when I first saw in theatres was my least favorite von Trier against the grain of the public, and has grown in esteem on each rewatch where now I can see it especially in context with his other films as the one where von Trier seems to be the most stable in acceptance of his mental health and individualized perspective on the world. That stability does not reflect his actual management of his life, as this was the last film he made before actually attempting to get sober (and it's interesting to look at Nymphomaniac as his first- perhaps only- "sober" film, at least written while off drugs and very clearly indicative of a man trying to overexplain himself to himself, while this one is almost a serene shrug gently welcoming his nihilistic side); but the film appears to be that of a man just before his 'bottom' of drug abuse, or a suicidal person who has developed a plan to kill themselves, when one levels out briefly in comfort staring out toward the sea of the actual task of confronting the hopelessness yet to come, relieved of the pain momentarily but removed enough to avoid the flooding of action: the calm before the storm. There is definitely an inspiring 'secret to life' proposed in Sutherland's character appearing secure but only as far as the facade of logic will take him, for once that is only shown to be a piece of the pie he crumbles and we see how the 'need' for tangibility and control is most destructive, while the ability to let go, to any degree, and accept the cosmic unpredictability of the emotional intangibility of life, is necessary to survive.

I really appreciated reading through this thread and want to single out Jeff''s comment about von Trier validating his own nihilistic part, and Sausage's about the eventual movement of each character to emerge from their own neuroses to connect and share with one another, even if for one moment, which to me signifies the meaning of life in all its impermanent wonder: Validation of the parts within the self including the limitations, and the ability to recognize and seize opportunities for empathy and connection when possible. I also want to thank mfunk for explaining depression in a level-headed way under those frustrating circumstances. Others mentioned how depression can be constant, and while that's true in some cases (Major Depressive Disorder requires some consistency for two weeks) it's much more common to have a less rigid mood disorder like Bipolar or Cyclothymia, which include depressive symptoms with more fluctuation, though even MDD allows for that too. mfunk is right that this comes unprovoked and I think that it's a stretch to think that Dunst was having reservations about the wedding beforehand or that her sociopolitical views of bourgeois created her state... she had an attack and like Sausage said she doesn't have support to heighten her finite will power to overcome obstacles and stressors that may include those (natural) reservations or (natural) annoyances with her job/social circle. Even more than the power of the ending, I think von Trier should be commended for giving himself - and by extension many of us - some affirmations that it is acceptable to have unpredictable mental health issues flare up, even if we cannot give ourselves that affirmation in the moment. That he does this for all audiences who care to look in this film is one of the most humanistic maneuvers of any filmmaker ever, and should be food for thought for those who label him a 'provocateur,' put him in a drawer and throw away the key. I mean, he allows Justine's psychological pain to externalize itself to the entire world: What could possibly be more empathetic and supportive of her worth?

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