In Lars von Trier‘s meandering and melodramatic “Melancholia,” Kirsten Dunst faces marriage to a man she doesn’t like and the end of the world thanks to a rogue planet. Really two movies in one, “Melancholia” is funny, sweet and boring at the same time. Von Trier may be trying a meditation on the disintegration of the institution of marriage.
Or something. Denmark, his own country, is obviously too close to the sun. Von Trier has a little heat stroke. The actors are fine including Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgaard and his real life father Stellan Skarsgaard. Von Trier says the film is about “a state of mind.” I’m not sure what state that is, or how audiences will react. At the press screening there was silence and muted applause at the conclusion. At least “Melancholia” is a huge improvement over von Trier’s regrettable “Anti Christ.”
And yes, this is the press conference that yours truly had to leave so I could go see “The Conquest,” the TV drama about Nicolas Sarkozy‘s political career. I did get to hear Von Trier say that his film might be crap. He was either stoned or drunk and very glib, making a lot of jokes. I was not present when he said he was a Nazi, and that “Israel is a problem.” The man is a troublemaker, so I don’t know if he’s actually anti Semitic or being inappropriately provocative. But his comments were stupid. Let’s hope he knows it.