Here’s the full Q&A from last night’s premiere, there’s some good stuff in there
Check out the new trailer for Melancholia (now with extra Alex)
I saw Lars von Trier’s Melancholia yesterday. The odd thing is that in Belgium it’s actually released only tomorrow in most cinemas, but for some reason the tiny local theatre had it in avant-premiere. It’s the only cinema I know where they don’t start the movie until everyone has well and truly arrived, where you can take your glass of wine or beer with you and where sometimes the only two people in the auditorium are you and a friend. Very charming and thankfully a lot cheaper than most big cinema chains.
But anyway, Melancholia. It’s a very powerful movie, mainly because of the poignant images Von Trier uses (especially at the beginning and towards the end) and the heavy Wagner soundtrack. But those same elements also make it a very beautiful and, ultimately, very sad movie. But then, what did you expect with that title and that director? All the awards for Kirsten Dunst, who is truly an amazing actress. Which still sometimes takes me by surprise even though it shouldn’t because she’s taken on some incredible roles in the past.
Also, I was grinning like an idiot every time Alexander Skarsgard appeared on the screen. He looked fantastic, was adorable as fuck and there were overbites galore.
Another clip from Melancholia
Want to know what watching Melancholia is going to be like?
“A lot of Nazi design was amazing. They had such big thoughts. The Stuka was a dive-bomber that swooped down and dropped its bombs with great precision. A special feature about the Stuka was that its bombs were equipped with a little whistle, which is staggeringly cynical but also a sign of artistic surplus. Someone was thinking, ‘How can we make this bomb even worse than it already is?’ The whistles were supposed to erode the enemy’s morale. The sound of that whistle was so scary. I was talking with some Danish elite soldiers who told me that when you’re attacking a group of people, let’s say in Afghanistan, you send the first two shots into the abdominal area of those in front. It’s extremely painful to be shot in the stomach. So the ones who are hit in the stomach start screaming, and when they do, the others get scared and lose their concentration. If they had been shot in the head, they would just fall down. There’s this rule to aim the first two shots at the abdomen and the rest at the head.”
Some more tidbits on Melancholia if you’re interested
In Melancholia, von Trier gets to destroy the world on screen. “That, of course, is great fun,” he commented in a recent interview. However, von Trier being von Trier, he is using the end of the world as a starting point for an intensely focused character-drama. His thesis is that “there is more horror in seeing a face watching the end of the world than in showing it.”
When I spoke to von Trier, he cited Richard Brooks’s In Cold Blood (1967) (adapted from the Truman Capote book about young drifters who murder a farmer and his family in Kansas and are then themselves executed) as an influence. The Danish director also suggested that, storywise, Melancholia can be compared to Titanic in “the sense that everyone knows the Titanic is going down. It’s just a matter of how it is going down. There is not the matter of who will survive.”
Another important inspiration for von Trier was the wedding scene at the start of Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter (1978). Melancholia also features a lengthy, very detailed wedding sequence in which family and generational tensions are gradually laid bare.
TRAILER FOR MELANCHOLIA.
Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Kirsten Dunst, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Gainsbourg