Monday, February 11 the screen lights up with Melancholia (2011), a film by director Lars von Trier. I’ll resist the temptation to divulge—as a 2012 reviewer chose to do—how the film ends. Let’s just say that by the times the end credits roll, the story is complete. If that has piqued your curiosity that was the point.
Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgård) celebrate their marriage at a sumptuous party in the home of Justine’s sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and brother-in-law John (Kiefer Sutherland). Despite Claire’s best efforts, the wedding is a fiasco with family tensions mounting and relationships fraying. Meanwhile, a planet called Melancholia is heading directly towards Earth threatening the very existence of humankind. It’s not just the guests at the grand wedding, held at an ever-so-romantic castle surrounded by —what else?— a golf course.
If you’ve thought about Earth being a planet unique (and alone) in the universe, the Danish film maker wants to put a sharp point on it. Personal and communal worlds collide. Skillfully crafted by von Trier, the film also stars John Hurt, and Stellan Skarsgård. With credits from Denmark, Sweden, France, and Germany, the film is in English and runs 135 minutes.