Lars Von Trier, the self-proclaimed “best director in the world” is close to a return to the big-screen with his end of world disaster epic, Melancholia. How the mercurial agitator Von Trier will successfully curry the sort of attention his beautiful, brutal and cerebral last movie Antichrist is as bewitching an intrigue as the film itself. And, in spite of being, ostensibly, a daring and unapologetically artful film-maker, never the less, the skill Von Trier possesses at courting controversy has elevated his marketability more than anyone of similar sensibilities could dare hope, and as such, he has already sealed a lucrative distribution deal in the United States for Melancholia with Magnolia Pictures.
A debut at Cannes is still rumoured and much hoped for, but no mention of a premiere there just yet.
Von Trier’s new film represents by far the most bankable cast of actors he has ever worked with. The likes of Kiefer Sutherland, Kirtsen Dunst are as prominent as anyone Von Trier has worked with in lead roles since Nicole Kidman, and Charlotte Gainsbourg, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Alexander Skarsgård, Stellan Skarsgård and Udo Kier are also on included. Amazingly, Dunst got her role as the intended actress- Penelope Cruz- elected to work on another Pirates of the Caribbean movie, making her astonishing quantities of money but eviscerating her credibility in one grand gesture.
Melancholia is said to open with the Earth being crushed before flash-backing to see how it happened from the point of two sisters (Dunst & Gainsbourg) and their different reactions to the impending apocalypse.
Von Trier was typically self-aware and provocative about this film prior to principle photography. He stated that the movie would be the first of his “not to have a happy ending,” which, given his notoriety as a “miserabilist” film maker will have frustrated and intrigued the mainstream cinematic press, the majority of whom have neither the knowledge nor the intellect to properly dissect any of the Dane’s transgressive cinematic statements.
Whatever the outcome, the results are certain to be difficult to ignore. There are few images in typically dull Cannes press-conferences than an aloof Scandinavian brushing aside the burning reactionary contempt of a knuckle-dragging Daily Mail journalist though he were a persistent gnat. It maybe too much to hope for such things to be repeated, but, if there is a film-maker alive who is capable of consistently exceeding expectation, it is Von Trier. And though he may have been staging yet another dialectical pronouncement when describing himself as the “best director in the world,” it would be difficult to stage a case for another living director.