Melon Collie Pony

they've all fallen to the groundI think I first heard about the movie Melancholia somewhere around the time they announced that Bernie Madoff was no longer suicidal. There seemed to be a lot of depression and suicide themed stories in the news around then. I don’t think I was projecting or selectively perceiving that. My own depression and suicidalness has remained pretty constant since about April.

Anyway it wasn’t long before the movie’s director made a supposed joke about Nazis. And they released the info that Bernie Madoff had originally attempted suicide with anti-depressives. Like he couldn’t have tried something perhaps more efficacious like eating paraffin. Or roast beef.

Some movies you’ve just got to think about afterwards. Maybe talk it over with someone so you know what you actually think.

Melancholia is an art house film, I guess. I actually saw it in an art museum. Afterward we ate supper at the Pho Pause noodle emporium. I felt so metropolitan. Then we drove home to our quasi-abandoned missile silo out in the boonies.

The movie is in three parts. The first part is brief, but in slow motion. It consists of shots that should have been at normal speed in the other two parts, but that didn’t quite fit in there, or were too pretty, or contained plot points that just had to be clear from the beginning. Sort of like pre-loading your browsers web cache. (That is so 90’s & dialup!)

The second part is the bride’s meltdown at her wedding reception. You see enough of her family to understand everything.

The third part takes place a day or a few days later, when everyone discovers that a rogue planet is about to crash into the Earth. All of a sudden the bride is not among the most depressed. What a turnabout!

These two greater sections are sort of parallel. There are phrases repeated in each, by the same characters, in similar situations. It kind of makes you think. This is definitely not a Transformers movie. It’s artificial in a good way: meaning that it was made with art. It doesn’t feel synthetic or fake or implausibly stretched. Or surreal. For surreal, go with Eraserhead.

The bride and her sister’s husband are American. Her sister and parents are English. Everyone else is Swedish. Originally Penélope Cruz was supposed to play the bride instead of Kirsten Dunst. I think I might not have gone to see the movie in theaters then, because it would have felt too artsy or pretentious or something. Kirsten Dunst really grounds the movie. She needs to win an Oscar or something.

It’s a pretty movie. And there’s a really strong sense of place. But I can’t really figure out where that bridge is. They keep saying there’s an eighteen hole golf course, but one of the flags says 19. And the performances are awesome. Kiefer Sutherland plays a more realistic version of Jack Bauer. I’ve loved Charlotte Gainsbourg since The Science of Sleep.

I guess it’s kind of a cross between Rachel Getting Married and When Worlds Collide. There’s a lot of handheld camera, and the focus-puller was really having problems. It felt pretty intimate.

Is the movie saying that getting married is as depressing as the world ending? Is it saying that people should be more morose about global warming? Is it saying life goes on even when it doesn’t?

I don’t know what I think. We’ve got to talk about it….

About Lyle Verbilion

I'm just wanderin' around lookin' at things. Wow.
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