Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cannes Coverage 2011: "Melancholia"

It's Lars Von Trier time again, and it's always a pleasure to sit down for a film of his. That is assuming that you can handle the drama, and quite often most people can't. I know the first time I sat down for the entirety of Antichrist was certainly a traumatic experience, mostly because it was such a personal work from such a dynamic director. I knew that when reviews started rolling around for Melancholia there would be some sort of negative reaction. They don't matter when it comes right down to it. The critical reaction isn't a factor in my own satisfaction.

Guy Lodge (In Contention), ***1/2: "If this seems like so much kitsch — particularly with the spine-tingling roar of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde filling the auditorium as we watch — that may not be accident: the contrast between this sequence and von Trier’s considerably grayer-hued ending suggests how we like to romanticize even our worst-case scenarios. In this remarkable film, at once intimate and operatic in scope, the apocalypse turns out to be rather a private function."

Brad Brevet (Rope of Silicon), C+: "Melancholia isn't a bad film, it's simply a film that takes much inspiration from its title. It's a melancholy, sad sack kind of feature and what I perceived to be von Trier's boredom with it hit me quite hard. If he had been able to break free of his own sadness perhaps there could have been some real lifeblood to counter Justine's dour mood, but even Sutherland's optimism isn't enough to make this more than a one note meandering feature."

Eric Kohn (indieWIRE), A: "Veering toward inevitable destruction, the plot maintains an eerie calmness. The four characters gear up for their lonely fate. One extended scene in which the planet drains a part of the Earth’s atmosphere, forcing its inhabitants to hyperventilate, could be read as a prolonged panic attack, which Von Trier has said he often suffers from. Melancholia avoids the shock tactics of Antichrist, maybe because the director lays bare his psychological fragility. While not an angry movie, its heavy sadness contains a furious core. Talk about potent therapy."

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