Melancholia Essay

2183 words - 9 pages

Fade-in. Woman's face, sullen, not frowning or smiling. She's intensely looking into the camera there seems to be no movement, but then birds begin to fall from the sky. This is the opening image of Larz Von Trier's Melancholia. This slowed down time being by portraying this woman -who we come to find out after the eight-minute non-diegetic intro- is Justine (Kristen Dunst). Cuts. Establishing shot of setting. Garden, landscape, in the background rocks overlook into a body of water edged by rocks. Painterly. Very lush greens; fourteen trees divided symmetrically mirroring each other. Sun clock in the center of the symmetrical trees cast shadow. There are two lighting points here, Both ...view middle of the document...

The other, grieving her failed marriage -which lasted only a couple of hours-, the loss of her job, and abandonment and disconnectedness to her mother and father fully welcomes the end of the world. Throughout the movie, one is made conscious of different reactions and realities one must face once mortality becomes imminent. Unlike an exaggerated amount of movies that concentrate the end of the world on the tension of events, panicking faces of crowds, and immediately updated media broadcasts are miles away from family, and inherently the director. This movie is about the individual and their coming to terms with the immensity of nature the deep emotions that emerge of facing our humanness.
The film begins with a close up of Justine’s face, a portrait, surrounded with falling dead birds, she is moving towards us, giving us an intense emotional, yet apathetic stare. According to the Director of Photography on set for the movie, a camera which shoots at 1,000 frames captures was employed. The Vision Research Phantom HD Gold was used to record at different times of the days then merged together in order to bring upon different lighting, which creates an eerie effect, which aids in causing a mood of heightened emotion. (Film) Similarly, characteristics of Romanticism are defined by the encyclopedia Britannica as a “general exaltation of emotion over reason and of the senses over intellect… preoccupation with the genius, the hero, and the exceptional figure in general, and a focus on his passions and inner struggles”. Justine’s, who is physically crippled by emotion and the hyper-reality of a life she despises, brings upon these struggles. In the concern of the romantic, and the deep feeling of melancholia, “portraits became vehicles for expressing a range of psychological and emotional states in the hands of Romantic painters.”
Then, the garden appears, the one with the sun watch in the center, and the symmetrical trees. This painterly scene highly portrays the involvement of the renaissance view on nature- “with its uncontrollable power, unpredictability, and potential for cataclysmic extremes…”(MET) German Romanticism painter Caspar David Friedrich illustrated expansive landscapes while reducing the scale of humans to the size of nature with lush greens and larger than life skies. Specifically, his art has a sense of order and symmetry, detail complained with rhythm and repetition. Much like the general obsession with triangles and three as the perfect number. Which ultimately brought about pyramidal shapes, and cause an “ a moment of enlightenment”. The methods that friedrich used in order to portray dramatics through nature and face the reality and understanding that humanity is powerless against nature. In this highly lush, garden scene under the sun clock in the center of the triangle formed by the trees and the ocean is Justine holding rotating in place while bringing her nephew up into the air. Minute in comparison to the rotating world...

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