On the night of her wedding, Justine is struggling to be happy even though it should be the happiest day of her life. It was an extravagant wedding paid for by her sister and brother-in-law who are trying to keep the bride and all the guests in-line. Meanwhile, Melancholia, a blue planet, is hurtling towards the Earth. Claire, Justine's sister, is struggling to maintain composure with fear of the impending disaster. Written by
Justine is walking out onto the front field towards the golf course and lake at night. As she is looking up at the planet a crew person is seen walking between two hedges to the upper right. See more »
Yeah, you're good. You can back up a little more, if you want. I think you need the... I think you need that extra...
I don't think he can hear you.
Sir. Sir, can you hear me up there?
[fiddling with controls]
Do you copy, sailor? He's in a different county, I think that's...
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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it the Superman? No, it's the super shaky Melancholia!
Is is a bird? Is it a plane? Is it the superman? No, it's the super shaky Yellow Melancholia!
Cinema is, more than anything else, image. On that, oh God, what an atrocious, dreadful, abominable, shockingly bad,execrable, heinous camera-work in "Melancholia".
I did try but I couldn't watch the whole film. I am no stranger to von Triers films and I liked some of his films, like "Dogville, for example. But, despite of my interest in the film, I just couldn't get past the heinous camera-work. I am not an expert but I read that they filmed "Melancholia" with one of those small cameras that are also used to film weddings and birthday parties. They are completely automatic and any 15 years old teenager experienced with a mobile phone could have filmed "Melancholia".
Of course, you can do a good film with that kind of wedding video camera and the excellent "Kreuzer Sonata" is an example of that. You can also be able to follow a story where the camera makes sharp, fast movements and the seminal NYPD Blue is an example of that. But the camera-work of "Melancholia" is just lousy, nothing else.
What I saw in "Melancholia" were jerky, wobbly, shaky camera movements. Many times images were blurred, out of focus and many times you see images of people's backs or the like because the camera is constantly going from point A to B for no good reason but the sake of movement. To add insult to injury, the images are yellow! It is not that they treated the images to look like that. They are yellow when it is bright and brown when it is dark, what makes easy to see that they didn't use special effects to make the image to look that yellow. It was just lousy, lazy camera-work.
I fast forwarded most of the film, thinking that maybe things would change but the jerky, shaky, wobbly camera work was always there. The images were yellow or brown...
Imagine that the director is an unknown person, someone whose ordinary life doesn't make headlines of tabloids . Would people really take so much notice and be so enthusiastic about "Melancholia"?
Lars von Triers has become a brand, like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. They can do no wrong, no matter what utter rubbish they do. If any of them spits on the floor there will be critics surrounding the area and taking pictures of the genial idea of spitting on the floor and its multiple layered meanings, its intensity and depth that so contribute to modern art and world peace.
Many people who are "in" will look down to the ones who "didn't get the film". It is pathetic because they criticise mass audiences but behave no different from a herd of cattle and can't see the farce of "Melancholia" because they are blinded by Lars von Triers shining name. On the other hand, it makes sense that many people will be sincerely enthusiasticabout "Melancholia" because they are part of the dumbing down culture of youtube videos and mediocre singers like Madonna, who was praised by Lars von Triers in an interview...
I wasn't expecting a linear story or a completely static camera. I watched many good films that had none of that. But the cinematography of "Melancholia" with its yellow images, shaky movements and out of focus images is so shabby that it ruins the film.
I think that there are two main reasons for the acceptance of the lousy cinematography of "Melancholia": 1. Most people have a mobile phone with video camera. The abundance of bad images on youtube is probably making people more and more comfortable with bad images, as they are all "filmmakers" doing really bad images that they think are wonderful. 2.Internet and other new technologies (such as video games) are making many people, especially young people, to suffer from short span of attention.
One third and minor reason would be that most enthusiastic reviewers watched this film in the cinema, instead of watching it on bluray disc as I did. A cinema screen is far more forgivable than a TV screen and it is possible that the shabby camera-work of "Melancholia" didn't look so unbearably shaky on the big cinema screen. Besides, when people watch a film in the cinema they experiment a "magic" that just doesn't exist when they watch the film at home.
The farce of this film starts with the prelude to Tristan and Isolde. Just about any images in slow motion will seem to be fantastic whilst you are listening to the sheer beauty of Wagner's music. Actually, the only genuine and modern art in this film is Wagner's music. Music that premiered about 150 years ago, before internet, mobile phones and Lars von Triers.
PS I browsed through some of the five stars reviews and the word "stunning" was used more than once to describe the cinematography. I think there are two ways to explain why reviewers considered visually stunning a film where the camera movements are so wholly, where so many images are out of focus and where the images are either yellow or brown: 1. They watched the film in the cinema, where the super shaky camera is not so distracting and the images were, I guess, not yellow. 2. They did watch the film on disc or the images are also yellow in the cinema. In this case, they probably found this film visually stunning because they are so used to the visual garbage they watch in youtube that they really lost, if they ever had, any reference of what a really stunning cinematography is.
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