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Year: 2011 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Lars von Trier 
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland  
An image from Melancholia

With every Lars Von Trier film release comes a great deal of talk and controversy. Melancholia is not as disturbing as his previous film Antichrist, but is certainly a feast.

Justine (Kristin Dunst) is about to get married to Michael (Alexander Skarsgård). They’re on the way to the wedding but the driver struggles with the car, causing them to be dramatically late. They don’t seem too bothered about how late they are though, in fact they’re in hysterics – all seems to be good. Until she spots an unusual star in the sky. From there on the first part of the film displays the breakdown of the wedding, the dysfunction of her family and Justine’s deepening depression.

In the second part of the film, the planet Melancholia physically approaches earth. Justine is calm while her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is in a panic. Scientists say Melancholia won’t hit earth, but we know it will. So does Justine. We witness a visual splendour as the approaching planet affects the characters’ state of minds, and ultimately collides into earth.

Having based aspects of the film on his own battles with depression, Von Trier has carefully observed and presents to us in extremely realistic detail the interactions between people. Themes range from humanity, death, to the emptiness of everyday life and the future of mankind, but everyone is bound to take different ideas and thoughts back home with them as the scale of this film is so vast.

The mesmerising visuals and immense climax will leave you speechless and glued to your seats. This is cinema at its best, and something like this needs to be experienced on the big screen. The dreamlike introductory sequence alone, made up of images of the characters and of space, is enthralling and stunning. Kirsten Dunst gives the performance of her career, with agony oozing from her every expression. Bold and intense, Melancholia will leave you in a state of indescribable euphoria.

Elly Hart

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Screenings of this film:

2011/2012 Spring Term (35mm)
2011/2012 Spring Term (35mm)