Melancholia – a descent into depression and the destruction of Our World

April 28, 2012 — Leave a comment

This was a movie that I tried unsuccessfully to shrug off.   A sci-fi themed movie about Depression.

Depression scares me.  I just ask myself – how can people be like that?  And I know that sometimes I am like that.  Luckily not the debilitating degree of the Kirsten Dunst character Julia, but to some extent this is a demon that mos of of face on, perhaps, a too regular basis.

What do you do when you are feeling down?  What about those closest to you?  How do you deal with these things?  At times I understood and at others I felt like the Kiefer Sutherland character, John.  the husband who married into a family of loonies.  He obviously doesn’t “get it” but you can easily sympathize with him.  This is something I find myself not wanting to “get”.  It’s similar to death, and in this movie it was much easier for me to contemplate my feelings on the destruction of the world then on that of a person close to me, or myself, suffering from depression.  It is what they say, the average person has a greater fear of public speaking (something that in my adult life doesn’t faze me) then they do of death.

Now I wonder if depression is something you have without even knowing?  Chatting to those close to me, they tell me I humph and haw and act listless.  Is depression something that one can have without even knowing?  Could it be a problem in my life effecting others the way that I am afraid of being effected?  Arghhgg – I don’t think of myself that way, but that no longer means that it is not true.

If I was to learn something from this film it is that depression is a reality, like death, that at somepoint I will have to confront.  I guess this is why there are shrinks (and xanex) to help you with these kind of qustions!

As for the construction of Melancholia, I thought it was excellent.  The opening was a wonderful decent into dreamy imagery.  I would have swapped my personal soundtrack including Pink Floyd’s Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun and Black Sabbaths’ Hand Of Doom.  The imagery was languid and enthralling.  The feelings were impressed into your cells, a few hours later I am still fealing a weight on my chest.

Justine basking in her Melancholia


There is another aspect to Justine, in her attitudes toward’s her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg).  It is selfishness.  Her sister shows almost nothing but patience and love, though she does express exasperation on occasion.  Then when the end draws near, and Claire has a simple request of ending it with a glass of wine and a song, Justine calls her plan out as ‘complete shit’.  After all the patience shown by those around her,  for her character to display no empathy or care for those who dote on her, in a way brings me back to my prior point – that perhaps it is difficult to know that you are suffering from depression?   If she was unaware of her actions, that might allow the subsequent thrashing  of those others. The other option is that she is just a selfish bitch?  It could be a fundamental character flaw of character of a symptom of the disease?  I have the disturbing feeling that I am both selfish and condescending and that I am more on both sides of this relationship then I may realize.

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