This week has been packed with literary action: Big stars (Javier Bardem) lassoed themselves to book series spanning thousands of pages (The Dark Tower); besieged multi-hyphenates (James Franco) added a beloved, esoteric title (Zeroville) to his collection of tomes awaiting his adaptation; and a thirtysomething actress (Jennifer Garner) plans to shave at least four decades off a beloved literary sleuth (Miss Marple).
So even though it's not quite summer yet, let's embrace the spirit of a summer Friday for a little midday diversion and enjoy this infectiously inventive and emotionally charged new trailer for Lars Von Trier's new film, "Melancholia," which is currently only available on Von Trier's website. The film stars Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg as sisters whose already complicated relationship gets more so when they discover during a wedding weekend that a giant planet is headed on a collision course with earth.
What bride wouldn't be sucked into a melancholic undertow by such news during her wedding weekend? But anyone even vaguely familiar with Von Trier's canon knows how prone he is to probing, prodding, and severing parts of the human soul (and body) most susceptible to pain. We are among the hearty few who watched his last emotional endurance test, "Antichrist," about a couple who loses their toddler son while having sex and spend the rest of the film doubled over in agony. More than a year later, there are gory images and emotions associated with that experience we're still unable to evict from the mind. That's the thing about Lars Von Trier's filmmaking: It's often as indelible as anything you experience yourself. Or more so. Certainly not all his films are worth the ensuing suffering, but "Breaking the Waves" and "Dancer in the Dark" are among the most deeply felt, exquisitely crafted moving pictures ever made.
Even judging by this short snippet of a trailer, "Melancholia" looks like the Danish auteur has returned to form with what may be his most accessible film expressing and embodying his preoccupation with the package deal that is beauty and sadness.