Crazy Wisdom: von Trier’s Melancholia

This is from the Great Grotesque Thing I’m writing, but it has some topical relevance now so I’ll post it. Basically, it’s a reading of the film as Romantic art (with a little Buddhism as well).

Crazy Wisdom

Melancholia announces its Romantic intentions immediately. The title itself claims a place alongside the great romantic spiritual laments, like Coleridge’s “Dejection: an Ode,” Shelley’s “Stanzas: Written in Dejection, Near Naples,” and Keats’s great “Ode to Melancholy.” But the film’s true romantic touchstone is a little later in time: the film opens with the ethereal gloom of the overture to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde.

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