It seems like 2011 is going to be a strange but beautifully surreal year for cinema. First off, we have Terrence Malick pouncing back to the scene with his astronomical shards of wisdom in The Tree of Life, and boy, the trailer is just stunning. Now, we have Danish provocateur Lars von Trier, the enfant terrible of European cinema, fresh from his Antichrist brouhaha, giving us a first glimpse to his recent opus, the dramatically-titled Melancholia.
Now for those uninitiated with Von Trier, the man does not disappoint. For a filmmaker whose body of work consists of compelling, if controversial, creations such as The Idiots, Breaking the Waves, Dogville and Dancer in the Dark, Von Trier usually breaks conventions and narrative grounds to convey horrific yet ruthlessly honest emotional truths about human existence. In Melancholia, he tackles, as it seems, three genres – pyschological drama, sci-fi and disaster movie – where two warring sisters (Kirsten Dunst and Von Trier regular Charlotte Gainsbourg) deal with family dysfunctions on a wedding ceremony and the end of the world, where a planet ‘hiding behind the sun’ comes to annihilate Earth. Sounds like the perfect wedding day.
But let’s hope this is more Andrei-Tarkovsky-does-sci-fi rather than Michael-Bay-does-disaster-movie. So far in the trailer, it looks beautiful – as though Von Trier adopts his Dogme manifesto and turns it into something operatic, with gorgeous lighting and terribly elegant super slow-motion FX he recently employed in Antichrist. The family battle royal here is reminiscent to the quintessential Dogme work The Celebration, but that’s a compliment, with Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland and the two Skarsgårds, the father and son, completing the family portrait.
Watch the trailer in awe below.
Melancholia will premiere in Cannes next month, and will be released 1 July.