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Transcript of Melancholia
The movie begins with an introductory sequence that involves the main characters and scenes from space. This introduces some of the movie's leitmotifs. The movie is divided into two parts Justine & Claire. The first part of the movie begins very light & happy while part two is darker & more depressive.
Justine is floating on a river at the beginning of the film which is an allusion to the painting Ophelia
The scene also foreshadows her death at the end since the circumstances surrounding both deaths share similar characteristics
"The sound of the end of the world."
A leitmotif is a short and constantly running recurring musical phrase. The phrase literally means guiding motif. Melancholia begins with a leitmotif that introduces many of the films themes and characters.
The Passage of Time
Divided into three parts: the introductory sequence, Parts I and II.
The introductory sequence lasts about eight minutes and is entirely in slow motion. It features images of space, the main characters, and some of the visual motifs that appear later in the film. Dramatic music playing over everything.
Part I: Justine: focuses on Justine's depression throughout her wedding reception
Part II: Claire: emphasizes Claire's difficulty in coping with the knowledge that Earth will soon be destroyed
The division of the film into these three parts helps to emphasize one of Von Trier's main points of the film: how depressed people tend to handle adverse events better than others.
"A brilliant film...one of the most beautiful, visually stunning, emotionally affecting films...truly a masterpiece." -CNN
Director's Use of Apocalypse
Controversial director Lars von Trier found inspiration for the film during a therapy session in which he discovered that depressed people act calm in highly stressful situations because they already expect bad things to happen. He used the idea of a celestial apocalypse to examine the human psyche during disaster.
Before watching the opening scene of the movie, how do you anticipate you'll feel about a leitmotif? How does this compare with what you feel after seeing the scene?
The slow motion of the opening sequence creates a sense of anxiety in the viewers.
The camera is very shaky and seems like someone just held it in their hand the entire movie. This along with lots of quick sweeping pans instead of just switching shots make the film have more realism.
In contrast to the close ups and quick pans between people talking, is the scene where Justine has sex on the golf course. The distance of the shot adds to the impersonal nature of the encounter.
When Claire is on the computer, the camera mimics one's eye movements when reading.
At a couple times, the camera focuses on Melancholia and slowly zooms in. I think this causes one to think deeper about the planet.
Justine and Claire, the two sisters, are contrasted side-by-side throughout the story to emphasize Justine's oddities and Claire's representation of the norm. Ironically enough, the characterizations completely flip towards the end of the movie as Melancholia approaches ever closer to Earth
What other movies you have seen that use score as one of the narrative methods like this? Can you point out similarities or differences between that and Melancholia's?
Can camera angles really make you "connect" more easily with a movie?
Whose characterization seems more appropriate for the situation and why? Justine's surprisingly joyous and calm manner as death approaches, or Claire's spiral into despair?
Upon learning that you have almost no remaining time to live, would you be more like Claire (panic and feel distraught) or Justine (calmly accept your fate)?
"Tristan and Isolde" by Richard Wagner (Melancholia Original score)
Weave with silence and the lows of Melancholia
Combination of different instruments ==> facilitates dread
"It's the loudest thing I have ever mixed," - Andersen (sound designer)
"Will Melancholia hit Earth or not?"
Moment of collision: passionate summit
Tell a story on its own
Heighten emotional impact