Melancholia, a 2011 film written and directed by world-renown director Lars von Trier, has taken theaters in Denmark, the U.K., Germany and Italy by storm as Trier’s unique cinematography has captivated audiences worldwide. Influenced by Trier’s own personal experiences with his therapist, the story takes many directions throughout the duration of the film.
The film takes place in two parts, each part titled by the name of one of the two sisters, Justine (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and Claire (Kirsten Dunst). In part one, “Justine”, Claire and her new husband are at their mansion on their wedding night, celebrating in lavish style with family and friends. A detached Justine finds herself disconnected with her husband and disappears in the woods, only to commit a terrible sin.
In the latter part, “Claire”, Justine has come to stay with Claire and her husband (Kiefer Sutherland) and son. Plagued by a terrible case of depression, she has trouble doing the daily activities of life such as eating or bathing. When her son, Leo (Cameron Spurr) tells the two sisters of a rogue planet that could potentially hit earth, each have very different reaction to the news as they brace for what could be their last moments on earth.
Featured at the 2011 Cannes film festival in Cannes, France on May 18th, Kirsten Dunst was awarded Best Actress for her portrayal of Claire at the conclusion of the festival. Being received by critics with mostly positive reviews, Melancholia is a different kind of film, a breath of fresh air form mainstream movies. The candid cinematography and stunning visuals coupled with the caliber of acting make Melancholia anything but melancholy.