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Lars Von Trier's "Melancholia" Reviewed

The first Lars Von Triers movie I watched was the excellent "Zentropa" about post-World War II Germany, and with one of the most thoroughly miserable endings known to man.

I followed this with "The Kingdom Part One" -a TV series I went to at Lincoln Center and watched, riveted for six hours straight. I missed the conclusion thought the end of Part One saw the entire Hospital where the saga was being told, overset by zombies.

In the years that followed I was a little less fan-ish for the strange film director though in 2000 his Bjork musical "Dancer In the dark" ended with her being hung.

Kids stuff.

"Melancholia" is the name of a planet twice as big as Earth and maybe on a collision course. Given what I've told you so far of Von triers disposition, take a guess as to how the movie ends.

Getting there isn't half the fun. The first part is about Kristin Dunst's portrayal of Justine,  a manic depressive whose wedding day is complete disaster, which ends with her leaving her husband and her job.A sorta rules of the game for dummies.

The wedding takes place at a family estate where Justine's sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and Claire's astronomy buff husband (Keifer Sutherland -looking more like his daddy every day) and son await the passing (hopefully) of Melancholia.

The second part  is beautiful and depressing, although the sister work as a very imperfect metaphor for the two planets. There are some beautiful scenes, foremost Kristin bathing naked in Melancholia's light by a lake and the at first gorgeous and then viscerally thrilling conclusion to the movie.

The director has claimed to have gotten the idea after his therapist had told Lars that manic depressives deal with disaster better than most people because they always expect the worse. 

Kristin gives an outstanding performance (she won the Cannes Film Festival best Actress award. Gainsbourg is so restrained in her role till she begins to crumble. Oh, and always a pleasure to watch Charlotte Rampling in action. But the first part is a bit of a mess, and the second part doesn't entirely redeem it.

The music? All Richard Wagner and it is magnificent. Especially the ending off "Tristan And Isolde"

Movie: B+

Music: A

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