movie critique: 'melancholia'

lars von trier directs
kirsten dunst
charlotte gainsbourg
kiefer sutherland

rating: 'film'

you see the trailer for 'melancholia' one night while bored/lonely, perusing apple's 'itunes trailers' webpage, and feel more affected by this trailer than every other you watch

you perform a brief google search for 'lars von trier' who you remember having heard of but have little emotional connection to, especially in a cinematic sense

you recall your friend once mentioning a name, resembling the way you imagine 'lars von trier' is pronounced, in the context of one or more science fiction movies and think 'melancholia' is a 'guaranteed classic' with only slight reluctance/sarcasm

you read the wikipedia article for 'melancholia (2011 film)' and skim some journalistic articles related to a 'scandal' surrounding lars von trier and a 'highly prestigious film festival' (cannes), wherein von trier asserted and then renounced something 'racist', for which he blames his 'ethnicity' and nationality and supposedly feels glad to be the first 'persona non grata' at said festival

when imagining what kind of movie 'melancholia' will be you think, 'entirely filled with slow motion shots and "epic" music', 'unpalatable casting that will "plague" the viewing experience in a unexpanded-upon/intensely distracting way', 'shot on one location with a series of computer graphics clips recalling "outer space" in an unprecedentedly bleak manner', and 'explicit in theme and execution: depressing'

after further 'researching' lars von trier, you read that he has clinical depression and a series of undefined, as per your research, 'phobias', which indelibly influence the film's tone, themes, and characterization

later, you find a copy of the movie on a torrent website and spend five hours waiting for it to download

you begin watching the movie's opening sequence when your girlfriend asks if you're 'coming swimming'. you say that you already said you didn't want to. she says that it would 'make her happy' and kisses you. you attempt to compromise by saying you will go to the beach but don't want to swim. she says that's okay but that it would 'make her happy' if you 'came swimming'. you assess the situation and resolve to take a laptop and chair with you to the beach but not swim. you are reprimanded and told 'it's fine' if you stay at the house and watch 'your movie' because she won't be swimming for 'long' 'anyway'. you calmly put the chair, laptop and glass of beer you had collected back where you got them and take a notebook and pencil to the beach. in the water two of your friends make out while your girlfriend, lit by the moon, is visibly separate from the couple. after a long pause, during which you contemplate the rhetorical format of this critique, your girlfriend says 'baby, the water's nice'. you interpret this as her communicating, 'i'm lonely and i want you to come play with me', remove your clothes and get into the water, which feels substantially colder than what you would consider 'nice'. your girlfriend asserts that she didn't expect you to react that way, nor did she intend for you to, and distractedly proceeds to insist on having contests of physical strength and endurance while you feel consistently preoccupied with wanting to continue the movie while also cultivating feelings of resentment because you feel manipulated and dislike swimming at night, which you have repeatedly expressed

you return to the house, dry off, sit in a hammock and continue the movie. after fifteen minutes your girlfriend walks up to you and says 'i'm bored. can i watch the movie with you?' you say 'sure, but it's depressing'

you watch 'part one' of the movie from the beginning, periodically increasing the playback speed through the first fifteen minutes (between 1.5-2.0x normal speed) to bypass scenes involving little dialogue

your girlfriend verbalizes that the film is exceedingly vulgar, she dislikes the main character but eerily relates to her, feels the movie is 'making her depressed', and causes her to have difficulty following her own 'train of thought'

you and your girlfriend share a cigarette as you begin watching 'part two' of the movie

you pause the movie, briefly, after a 'climactic' scene, and beckon your girlfriend to sit on your lap. you kiss each other and say things softly, which culminates in your girlfriend expressing that she is tired, but wants to finish watching the movie

you go to your bedroom and cuddle as the movie continues

you realize that your brain, near the end of the movie, begins to project 'personal meaning' onto your perception of the film and makes varied assumptions about von trier's 'narrative tact'. you find this happens especially in terms of characterization, partly because your girlfriend says, in response to one scene, 'that's so selfish, why did he kill himself?' to which you reply—utilizing almost only subconscious thought—'to characterize him as a "control freak" that feels he needs to have "control" over his life in the face of impending death'

the credits roll and you see that penelope cruz has a 'special thanks' credit


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