Any other bride would panic if the stretch limo carrying her to her wedding got stuck en route, too long to make a tight turn on a narrow country road. Not Justine, though. Her face lights up with perverse glee. She laughs. And we have our first sign that the heroine of Lars von Trier’s Melancholia does not respond to the world around her in precisely the way she’s supposed to. … Read More
Stellan Skarsgård may be best known as a European actor bringing elegance and menace to big-budget American films — he’s part of The Avengers world, important to Thor and its recent sequel, he was in David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and he’s been a reliable villain-type-with-layers ever since he was in Good Will Hunting. But Skarsgård’s American career is just the tip of the iceberg. The biggest actor in Sweden, Skarsgård is such an important cultural export that there’s a picture of him at the Stockholm airport next to Sweden’s other touchstones (Abba, Bjorn Borg, Ingmar Bergman, Stieg Larsson, Pippi Longstocking). Perhaps Skarsgård’s most interesting long term-collaboration has come from his work with Danish auteur Lars von Trier: from Breaking the Waves to Melancholia, Skarsgård has been there as an often-bruised and impotent male character, bouncing off the dramatic femmes that populate Von Trier’s world. … Read More
There are going to be plenty of people finding copies of excellent Blu-rays from the big studios like Warner Bros, Universal, Paramount, Sony, Disney, and Fox under their trees this holiday season. The number of happy folks unwrapping their Blu-ray copy of The Dark Knight Rises or Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures will be astounding. But what about all those more independent-minded studios out there? We here at Flavorwire don’t think some of the great releases from these smaller guys should be forgotten so we put together an Underappreciated Blu-ray Gift Guide for your 2012 shopping needs. Treat the cinephile in your family to a little something special this holiday season with one of these great releases. … Read More
Over the past week, we’ve done features on mouth-watering feasts on film and parental-friendly playlists for your Thanksgiving dinner. We’ve looked at some of the most culturally-relevant birds that we could find and ranked TV’s best Thanksgiving-centered episodes — Zagat-style. Now it’s finally game day. But rather than forbidding you to eat things like Cherpumple Pie while simultaneously encouraging you to indulge in a booze-tastic four-course meal, we’ve decided that today we’re going to focus on what this holiday is really about: giving thanks. Click through for a list of the cultural gems that Flavorpill staffers have been the most grateful to experience this past year, and if you’re feeling in the holiday spirit, keep it going in the comments! … Read More
Lars von Trier is a great filmmaker, but he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy you’d much like to hang out and have a drink with. Aside from all that Nazi stuff, his films tend to traffic in the grimmest possible subject matter: he’s tackled rape, slavery, the death penalty, paralysis, and genital mutilation, so it somehow seems logical that his latest picture, Melancholia (on demand now, in theaters Friday) is about nothing less than the end of the world.
Apocalypses are a popular topic for filmmakers — though most are more interested in the narrative possibilities of the post-apocalyptic world than the event itself. Melancholia distinguishes itself by being something of a pre-apocalyptic picture, delving into the anxiety and fear of those who are awaiting the earth’s possible collision with a foreign object (timely!). After the jump, we’ll take a look back at a few of our favorite cinematic apocalypses. … Read More
Lars von Trier has always been a polarizing director, but until recently, most of the controversy has been over his perceived misogyny. And while feminists and film buffs have been fighting over von Trier’s treatment of women for a few decades now, it only took one interview in which the filmmaker professed to identify with Hitler to get him banned from Cannes.
Despite my ambivalence about his female characters, I’ve always been a fan of von Trier’s. I think his films are challenging and shocking and sometimes brilliant. Even my least favorite of his movies are striving to express something (infallibly depressing) about the human condition. Von Trier may be misanthropic, but he’s no sociopath. So, when the news broke that the director had said he was a Nazi and understood Hitler, I knew there had to be more to the story. … Read More
We haven’t seen either film yet, but ever since we heard that Lars von Trier’s Melancholia and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life were both screening in competition at Cannes this year, we’ve assumed they’d be an epic match-up. Both are hotly anticipated, beautifully shot movies by world-class auteurs with polarizing histories, and it seemed like each would tackle ambitious, cosmic themes. Now, the lucky souls who got to see them have confirmed our suspicions: almost every review we’ve read of Melancholia (and so far they’re hard to find, considering they’ve been drowned out by the noise around von Trier’s publicity-courting “Nazi” comments) makes some mention of The Tree of Life. Critics are split on which they prefer, but the early verdict seems to be that fans of both directors — and moviegoers in general — have much to look forward to. Read what the critics have to say about Malick vs. von Trier after the jump. … Read More
So, this is an odd pairing: Kirsten Dunst — the sunny, faintly bratty, baby-faced star we’ll always remember as Marie Antoinette, Torrance from Bring It On, and Claudia from Interview with the Vampire — and Lars von Trier, the director most recently known for that scene in Antichrist where Charlotte Gainsbourg… well, if you don’t know yet, we’ll spare you the Friday morning spit take. Von Trier’s latest is called Melancholia, and it bears the tag line “a beautiful movie about the end of the world.” The trailer kicks off at Dunst’s character’s elaborate wedding and foreshadows some kind of space apocalypse (our best guess from the last shot is that Earth gets butt-bumped to oblivion by a much larger planet). Melancholia looks gorgeous, thrilling, and over-the-top in equal measure, which seems about right for the follow-up to Antichrist. The all-star cast also includes Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, and Alexander Skarsgård. Tell us whether the film, which premieres next month at Cannes, is on your must-see list after the jump. … Read More