Lars Von Trier is, in my opinion, the greatest living film director. I've seen almost his entire body of work, and I feel like a better person for it. This is a man of unbridled creativity whose films deftly explore so many aspects of life. His best, in my opinion, is Dancer in the Dark, a strange musical starring Bjork which will make you bawl your eyes out. Bjork will never act again, she says, because Trier “broke my soul” to get such a heart-wrenching performance out of her (it worked). Another favorite is Antichrist, a truly perverse horror film exploring concepts of feminism. My immediate impression after viewing was: “Lars Von Trier hates women.” However, reading and discussion about the film has indicated that perhaps it is the other way around. Themes aside, though, it's an extremely horrifying and unsettling film.
His most recent film, the followup to Antichrist, is entitled Melancholia, and it, too, is among the best of his work. The basic premise is thus: a gigantic planet is hurtling through space and passing through our solar system. It is not expected to hit Earth, but, as we see in the opening scene, it does (this isn't a spoiler; it opens with this information, then backtracks to tell the story). Don't be fooled: this isn't a disaster movie, and many people who were unfamiliar with Trier's work saw this film expecting it to be something along the lines of Roland Emmerich or Michael Bay. It is rather about the relationship between two sisters, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg). The first half of the film is about Justine as she is getting married at Claire and her husband's estate. The second half focuses on Claire as she deals with Justine's increasing craziness. It is a weird and wonderful film (and the fact that Kiefer Sutherland didn't get an Oscar nomination for his role is astounding).
The Louisville Film Society presents Melancholia as their final installment in the Ladies Cine-Club. It will be screened tomorrow at the Dreamland Film Center at 7:00. Admission is free but only open to LFS members; memberships will be available at the door. The Dreamland Film Center is located at 810 E. Market Street. Further information can be found at the LFS website.
Image: Internet Movie Database