It felt awkward in the beginning; perfectly aesthetic images and a steady camera. Main rules of Dogma 95 were overuled: “the camera must be hand-held” , “the sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa”. The introduction of the movie is a visual equivalent of the music, romantic music, Wagner! I am not fond of music helping out the film on emotional level; it usually feels like a cheat. But in this case you just cannot take your eyes off the screen. The story is said in the introduction; the most elliptical narration that you can have. And then we pass to the known field of the moving camera, unfocused restless shots, following the characters down to their psychological narrowness. Any sense of happiness is destroyed from the beginning so that we have no expectations of a way out. In the two parts of the film we see Justine’s wedding party ending with her submitting to depression. Then we follow Claire’s fears about the “fly-by” of the planet Melancholia. The movie ends with justification of both fears and depression. Justine is shown to be the strongest of the two sisters in the end. I think it is more that being depressed she associates herself better to the reality of destruction. Besides, Claire has a child and cries for him: “Where will Leo grow up?”. The answer is nowhere. This is a non-compromise movie about the end of the world. However, beauty and romanticism are present throughout the film. In fact, it is a purely romantic film about the end which is anyway inevitable. I don’t know if it is a dogma movie; rules have been broken. But “Melancholia” sets its own system and works in it; just like every work of art that is expected to be coherent to its own rules.
Thoughts that arise:
1. We must think above reality to be able to do anything at all.
2. The polished aesthetics have not left intact even the most determined anti-aesthetics movement.
3. Lars von Trier still manages to make a part of the audience leave the cinema half way, so there must be a flaw in his perfectly aesthetic movie.
4. There is still hope for the seekers of the basics.
5. Art is the best absorber of apocalyptic ideas; one more reason for teaching art at schools on the same level of importance as mathematics and language.