Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Not the End of the World - Yet 

Wednesday, Nov 9 2011
Comments
The first thing you see in Lars von Trier's Melancholia is a close-up of Kirsten Dunst's face. Behind her, slow as molasses, birds are dropping from the sky. These are the latter days. Melancholia's first five minutes are like a formal invitation to the end of the world; the next 130 minutes allow you to live through the run-up. Generically a disaster film, Melancholia features two disasters. Von Trier devotes the movie's first half to the disintegration of a storybook wedding between bride Justine (Dunst) and groom Michael (Alexander Skarsgard), who arrive late to their own reception, hosted by Justine's sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and fabulously wealthy brother-in-law John (Kiefer Sutherland) in their castle. The wedding is a costly debacle; the bride suffers a depressive breakdown. Still, it's not the end of the world, Justine! That arrives in the movie's second half as — grown from a speck of light to a noticeable orb — the mystery planet Melancholia bears down on Earth. Claire is acutely apprehensive while John, an amateur astronomer, is boyishly enthusiastic, having calculated that the planet will just miss the Earth. Justine, now living with her sister, is so depressed that she cannot lift her leg to bathe. Yet as Claire's panic escalates, Justine grows mystically attuned to the impending cataclysm, calmly telling her sister that, "I know we're alone." We are alone but Melancholia, a thrillingly sad and beautiful film, dares to imagine (and insist we do as well) the one event that might bring us together.
Nov. 11-17, 2011

About The Author

J. Hoberman

Related Locations

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Slideshows

  • Jack White at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
    Jack White and his band performed at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Friday and Saturday nights in front of sold out audiences. Jack entertained his fans with music that included songs from his days with The White Stripes, and The Raconteurs, as well as hits from his solo albums; Blunderbuss and Lazaretto. Photography by Sugarwolf.
  • San Francisco Street Food Festival 2014
    The San Francisco Street Food Festival was another success this year. Dozens of vendors with original, unheard-of creations, such as deep fried mac and cheese on a stick, black pea paste pancakes, and Korean quesadillas. Then there was the comfort foods we've grown accustomed to, like creme bruleé, shrimp rolls, and pound cake. Photographs by Mabel Jimenez.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed