Friday, August 21, 2015


Obsessed by the necessity to destroy humanity


Don’t believe the title. There is no melancholia in this woman on the front page. Don’t believe the Ophelia looking front page with Justine floating in water in her wedding dress holding lily-in-the-valley, a whole bunch of them. There is no Ophelia, no suicide by drowning and no flowers floating on top of the water. Justine is not going to go to a nunnery, the nunnery of the dead, at least not what Hamlet and Shakespeare had in mind.

You will discover as soon as you get into the film beyond the title page that we are dealing with the end of the world set in parallel with the end of celibacy for Justine. She cannot accept her personal perspective because of what has been announced and is coming: the planet Melancholia is going to ram into the Earth. There cannot be any enjoyment while it lasts because lasting should mean there is no end decreed even before it starts, and obviously there is an imminent announced foreseen end.

So the little (though super rich, but the richer the more little) people at that wedding reveal how little they can be while they are forgetting it is one of their very last days.

The mother is obnoxious and ridiculously anti-marriage and anti-husband, particularly hostile to her ex-husband that refused to be dominated into silence.

The father is secretive, more than strange and absolutely selfish meaning he is not able to think beyond his own mental limits and they are quite narrow.

The sister Claire is the only sane person and yet she will yield to insanity when the end is coming. Sane people are only behaving like sane people, as sane people, but as soon as conditions get insane they are also getting insane because they are just copying what is normal at any time in their society. And yet at the last minute just before Melancholia crashes into the Earth she will get back to some sane peace and quiet, thanks to her own sister, Aunt Steelbreaker.

Claire’s husband, John, is entirely preaching what he knows is not true. He knows there is a margin of error in any calculation and that his own calculations that make Melancholia fly by have a fair chance to be wrong especially since everyone else or nearly says it will crash into the Earth. Actually he is a coward who will see before others the imminent ending and will steal his own wife’s poison to leave life before the meeting of the two planets.

Justine’s newly-wed husband Michael is just a non-entity who loves, in fact desires, Justine and leaves her as soon as he understands she is beyond domination. For him love is submission both ways except that the husband only submits for his own pleasure and enjoyment. And he has little more to say.

I won’t say anything about Justine’s boss: he is the biggest business non-imaginative non-entity that I hope you will never have to come across in life and after life.

So we are back with Justine, depressed by what is coming, always depressed because of a domineering and vain mother who hated anyone but herself and deserted her daughters to only come back once in a while to insult them. She is also depressed because of the evanescent and always absent father who cannot even find five minutes to have a personal word with his daughter on her wedding day. And she is the creative one who will be able to invent some fable about a magic cave that will create peace and bring quiet to her nephew Leo, her sister Claire and herself for the last fifteen minutes of their life.

We are back with Claire who is the sound and safe one in life but also the realist in danger and in a crisis, which makes her buy some poison before the end if it has to come to an end. Like all these people who have their feet well anchored in and not on the earth she is not able to face a real existential crisis in her own life but she is the best empathetic help anyone can find in their own existential crises. And when the end comes it is the sound sister that needs the help of the depressive one.

And we have Leo, Claire’s son and Justine’s nephew. He is a child, innocent and gullible, afraid of nothing because he has never seen death and suffering and torturing and cruelty face to face, one on one,  in personal confrontation. When such an event comes he is curious to see it and he believes the soft and smoothening tale of his aunt, Aunt Steelbreaker, who makes him build the skeleton of an Indian Tepee and makes him accept this is a magic cave in which no danger can reach him or anyone with him and he closes his eyes and finds the peace necessary to reach the end of the road without the slightest jolt. He is hypnotized in a way, one of Mars von  Trier’s favorite device.

When I have said that I have said nothing about the meaning of the film. I have simply repeated, summarize, given a gloss of the factual surface of the film, nothing but spoilers. But what is the meaning?

Here we come across Lars von Trier who has forgotten his provocative and absurd dictum and pronunciamento in his Vow of Chastity that was nothing but a dogmatic fundamentalistic Dogma 95. Everything in this film is fake, unreal, artificial, using all sorts of artifices and special effects including the special effects of the story itself that is supposed to blind the audience and make them believe we are dealing with normal though completely berserk people but berserk because the circumstances are exceptional. And what is so exceptional in it?

In 2011 when the world was falling head first in the worst financial crisis since 1929 (that brought Hitler and the Nazis Lars Von Trier loves-hates so much), when the first signs of the debt crisis in Europe were appearing, when the leadership of the USA was at stake everywhere in the world from China to Iraq with the economic defeat in front of the BRICS and with the military defeat in the Middle East, when nothing was improving and everything was getting worse, he came up with the fable of a cosmic end to the Earth and humanity. To make sure we get the message he does not even look at this cosmic destruction from the point of view of more than four people, first by wrapping up some gathering of the super rich in a wedding party that is a total failure but we can always enjoy the wedding cake and forget about the cosmic end coming soon. And then when we cannot avoid that moment we are locked up in a group of four people, cut from the rest of the world with no telephone, no electricity, no means of communication, no servant even, nothing, all alone.

A crisis of that type cannot in our world be experienced like that. It would necessarily be experienced as a collective drama, a collective panic, a collective epiphany, maybe even a collective salvation. But there is no reference to the billions of people on the Earth, no reference to any ideology, be it religious or non-religious, philosophical or secular, artistic even or poetic, with hardly ten seconds on Google or some Bling like that for some opportunistic info given to us the audience about this Melancholia.

We are manipulated in cold blood and we are not even in any way pushed towards some personal empathy for anyone in the tale, except maybe the horses. The medium is the message and the message is the massage. Good morning, Vietnam, straight from MacLuhan’s Global Village on Epsilon One Billion, or is it Antares in Scorpius?

Then what is left in that waste land of human desolation? The obsession of death that Lars von Trier cultivates with gusto! His obsession about some kind of catastrophe brought by some kind of agent. Since all man-made catastrophes have failed to produce this end of humanity Lars von Trier wishes with all his heart and not the slightest part of his mind, then he has to come to some more drastic means and that is to use the cosmos as God almighty punishing humanity for its vanity, its cruelty, its absurdity, its folly and insanity.

In other words that film is morbid and is supposed to make us think that there is no hope whatsoever as long as humanity exists. Of course he knows that there is no other life like ours in the cosmos and that our end would not be that drastic for the universe: “The Earth is evil. We don’t need to grieve for it. Nobody will miss it… When I say we’re alone, we’re alone. Life is only on Earth and not for long,” says Justine. It’s obvious when humanity is destroyed no human being will feel sorry for it. How could they since they will be reduced to cosmic dust and powder and back to the super black hole of the big Bang. Good riddance!


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