Kirsten Dunst in MELANCHOLIA, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Melancholia (2011)

Also Known As: Planet Melancholia

Opened: 11/11/2011 Limited

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Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Facebook

Genre: Sci-Fi/Drama

Rated: R for some graphic nudity, sexual content and language.


In this beautiful movie about the end of the world, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgard) are celebrating their marriage at a sumptuous party in the home of her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and brother-in-law John (Kiefer Sutherland). Despite Claire's best efforts, the wedding is a fiasco, with family tensions mounting and relationships fraying. Meanwhile, a planet called Melancholia is heading directly towards Earth... MELANCHOLIA is a psychological disaster film from director Lars von Trier.

Director's Statement

It was like waking from a dream: my producer showed me a suggestion for a poster. "What is that?" I ask. "It's a film you've made!" she replies. "I hope not," I stammer. Trailers are shown ... stills ... it looks like shit. I'm shaken.

Don't get me wrong ... I've worked on the film for two years. With great pleasure. But perhaps I've deceived myself. Let myself be tempted. Not that anyone has done anything wrong ... on the contrary; everybody has worked loyally and with talent toward the goal defined by me alone. But when my producer presents me with the cold facts, a shiver runs down my spine.

This is cream on cream. A woman's film! I feel ready to reject the film like a wrongly transplanted organ.

But what was it I wanted? With a state of mind as my starting point, I desired to dive headlong into the abyss of German romanticism. Wagner in spades. That much I know. But is that not just another way of expressing defeat? Defeat to the lowest of cinematic common denominators? Romance is abused in all sorts of endlessly dull ways in mainstream products.

And then, I must admit, I have had happy love relationships with romantic cinema ... to name the obvious: Visconti!

German romance that leaves you breathless. But in Visconti, there was always something to elevate matters beyond the trivial ... elevate it to masterpieces!

I am confused now and feel guilty. What have I done?

Is it 'exit Trier?' I cling to the hope that there may be a bone splinter amid all the cream that may, after all, crack a fragile tooth ... I close my eyes and hope!

-- Lars von Trier, Copenhagen, April 13, 2011