Lars Von Trier's Melancholia Preview


Written by Tshepo Mokoena
Photos and illustrations by Lars von Trier
11 Monday 11th April 2011

Not one to shy away from controversy, filmmaking Dane Lars von Trier has now got a self-described 'psychological disaster movie' up his sleeve. Due to show at Cannes next month, Melancholia parallels the breakdown of a sibling relationship with the actual end of the world in a way that looks both immersive and completely weird.

Von Trier directs a strong international cast, including Kirsten Dunst, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, Alexander Skarsgård, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgård and his former clitoris-mauler Charlotte Gainsbourg. The film's powerful wedding scene definitely nods to collaborator Thomas Vinterberg's birthday celebration in 1998's Festen: the Dogme 95 technique of pitting the once-joyous against the catastrophic will come as no surprise to fans of the Danish movement.

Since announcing plans for the film's production last summer, von Trier and his cast have remained fairly tight-lipped about the piece. It looks like it's going to be majorly intriguing, and will nicely straddle humanism with an apocalyptic angle. Von Trier's no stranger to the misleading trailer either, so only an actual viewing will tell whether Melancholia pans out as a sudden dark comedy or just madly over-the-top. Don't forget, this is the same man who gave us Bjork skipping along on trains in Dancer In The Dark.

"In Melancholia I start with the end. Because what is interesting is not what happens but how it happens! So we begin by seeing the world being crushed, then we can tell the story afterwards. In this way you don't have to sit and form theories about what will happen, but can delve down into some other levels and become interested in the pictures and the universe".

Melancholia premieres at Cannes Festival in May 2011 and is released for general viewing in the UK on July 1st 2011.

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