Watch: Lars von Trier’s ‘Melancholia’ Captures the Experience of Depression

Watch: Lars von Trier’s ‘Melancholia’ Captures the Experience of Depression

If you’ve ever been immersed in the condition known to clinical psychologists and others as "depression," but really too indescribable to fit within one label, then Lars von Trier’s ‘Melancholia’ should have great resonance for you. Evan Puschak, aka "The Nerdwriter" on YouTube, makes the great point  (one of several) at the beginning of this piece that von Trier’s film inscribes the physical experience of depression in his cinematography, in his painfully slow pacing, and in Kirsten Dunst’s performance as Justine, one of her most memorable, strange performances yet. Von Trier uses slow motion quite frequently, and yet here it has special poignance as it recalls the feeling many depressed people have that time has slowed down, that each second feels like sixty, each minute feels like a lifetime, and that were a rogue planet to crash into Earth, it might not be such a bad thing. 

Watch: Lars von Trier Is the Filmmaker of Assault

Watch: Lars von Trier Is the Filmmaker of Assault

Though often packaged and presented immaculately, the films of Lars von Trier, from ‘Melancholia’ to ‘Dogville’ to ‘Dancer in the Dark’ to ‘Antichrist’ to ‘Manderlay’ to ‘Nymphomaniac’, are essentially assaultive. Oddly enough, though, you almost never expect the assaults they deliver. 

Ah, what beautiful music, with snow falling, a slow motion love sc–oh, wait, a baby just fell out a window.

Or: What a beautiful house, with gorgeously landscaped grounds. You’d never think the world was about to–wait, is that Kirsten Dunst, sprawled naked in some ferns?

Or: Nicole Kidman is a remarkably versatile actress, whose talents are well-suited to–oh, my God, what are they doing to her? Yeesh!

Or: I just love Bjork’s bizarre, personalized musical stylings. It’s so wonderful that she–god, I’m depressed. I’m not sure I can move my limbs, I’m so sad. Help!

Or: Gosh, this soda tastes good on such a hot–ouch! Watch that two-by-four, Willem!

You get the idea. In any event, Alex Kalogeropoulos’s video above succinctly and smartly captures the spirit of aggression running through von Trier’s work. So, get ready, and take a look.