Melancholia. 2011. Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany. Written and directed by Lars von Trier. With Kristen Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexander Skarsgård. 35mm. 135 min.
Lars von Trier juxtaposes the magnificent and the mundane in this acclaimed apocalyptic drama. Beginning with an overture of stunning, tableau-like images, the story abruptly switches to the wedding day of Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgård). Justine, withdrawn and distracted, does not make a blushing bride, and the evening is fraught with familial and existential anxiety. Looming (literally) over all of the action is Melancholia, a planet long hidden by the sun that is due to make a close call with the earth over the next few days. Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg (as Claire, Justine’s sister/caretaker) give strong performances that complement von Trier’s realist style.