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Elle. Basically the same movie as The Piano Teacher but sillier. Huppert is great, but when is she not? -Jonathan

The Edge of Seventeen because I needed something light and fun. So delightful, and anchored by a wonderful Hailee Steinfeld performance. - Marina


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Entries in Melancholia (25)


European Award Noms (Shades of Oscar, 2011 AND 2010)

Our Oscar chart updates are underway (much more coming at you tomorrow) and now The European Film Award nominations are out. The Film Experience always enjoys their attempt at boiling down so many countries into one group of "best of"s. The American and British Film Academies don't have it so hard, you know, each generally only dealing with the best of Hollywood and London with the occasional embassy outreach to a hot foreigner. (That'd be The Artist this year).

Melancholia vs. The Artist at the EFAs

For our Oscar discussion purposes the most amusing thing about this year's lineup is that two Oscar winners from 2010 (the UK's The Kings Speech and Denmark's In a Better World) are competing against one of the presumed frontrunners of 2011 (France's The Artist) with a few arthouse madman (The Melancholia) and French language side dishes (The Kid With a Bike -- not submitted for this year's Oscar race -- and Le Havre, which is an Oscar submission for in Best Foreign Film).


  • The Artist
  • Le Havre
  • In a Better World
  • The Kid With a Bike
  • The King's Speech 
  • Melancholia

Sigh. The King's Speech. At this point it's like an unstaked British vampire, sucking the life from Gallic beauties and crazy Danes. 


  • Susanne Bier, In a Better World
  • The Dardenne Brothers, The Kid With a Bike
  • Aki Kaurismäki, Le Havre
  • Béla Tarr, The Turin Horse
  • Lars von Trier, Melancholia

It seems absolutlely bizarre to snub Michael Hazanavicius for direction (The Artist, more than most movies, would've been a disaster without its careful but exuberant guiding hand). Meanwhile Tom Hooper probably won't lose sleep over his snubbing here. Once you've won the Oscar...


  • Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
  • Cécile de France, The Kid With a Bike
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg, Melancholia
  • Nadezdha Markina, Elena
  • Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin

Melancholia's sisters (Dunst & Gainsbourg) each get half the movie. They also share the EFA nom.

We're literally revisiting Cannes jury deliberations for this lineup since all of the women were there. Remember when everyone was all: will it be Kiki or Tilda in "Best Actress"? I wish the EFA had a higher profile just to give Dunst another boost and get back into the Oscar conversation.

More after the jump including actors, composers, and dreamy unsettling production design.

Click to read more ...


Kiki, the Runway Bride

Here comes the bride, all dressed depressed in white ♬

Should the Apocalypse ever need to take wife, it couldn't do better than to kneel before one Kirsten Dunst and beg for her hand in unholy matrimony. Isn't she aesthetically effective and spectacularly depressing in a wedding gown?! Two of her signature characters, Justine in Melancholia and Marie Antoinette in Marie Antoinette march toward certain doom in their white and ivory splendor. 

I was thinking about Dunst for four reasons today. 


  1. It's Marie Antoinette's 256th birthday today. Eat cake.
  2. I was just reading that she'll reteam with Orlando Bloom, her Elizabethtown co-star for, sort of in the Roger Donaldson's new interlocking stories thriller Cities. I believe she'll be involved with Clive Owen's character in the film, a NYC hedge fund manager. But the Elizabethtown connection is worrisome only in that that film seemed to lead to the sudden downward spiral of her career, Bloom's career, and director Cameron Crowe's career who disappeared thereafter. (But he'll be back soon with We Bought a Zoo.)
  3. That coincidentally nervous-making news aside, she's been making all the right moves career-wise lately and I couldn't be more pleased. She's such a fine actress.
  4. Melancholia opens on the 11th, expands on the 18th and I have something special planned for it that I think you'll enjoy. Something more interactive than you're accustomed to in movie reviews. My review will arrive late next week... and I hope you'll see the movie first chance you get. It's very very sticky.


So... Kirsten Dunst: Does she make you hear wedding bells? 


Persona Non Linka

Thank you to Glenn for drawing our attention to this Melancholia poster starring Lars von Trier (one of a series). When was the last time you saw a director on his own movie poster?

I mean apart from Hitchcock's Psycho -- the one where he warns you about not entering the theater late -- I can't think of one (unless the director is also the lead actor of course). It's impish fun to use von Trier this way in marketing since anyone buying a ticket to Melancholia is going to know who he is. But the "persona non grata" Cannes seal in the upper left corner is the real design coup here. Well done, whoever thought of it.

My New Plaid Pants chooses five fav Gwyneth Paltrow performances. Where the hell is Flesh and Bone? That'd make mine.
Thelma Adams recruits female pundits and critics to talk Best Supporting Actress
EW is eager to meet all of your Avengers needs 
Flickr More Drive art. See also this week's Curio column
i09 selects the ten best sci-fi death scenes. Number 2 should be number 1, duh!
Shakesville offers up Princess Bride Monopoly (click image to view larger). Well done.  


Awards Daily new pics of Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe 
Form is Void Have you ever seen Jim Henson's Time Piece (1966)? It gave him his first and only Oscar nomination (Best Live Action Short Film). It's "surprisingly spicy."

Finally, it seems that Bennett Miller will follow up Moneyball with Foxcatcher which is the story of crazy rich person / killer John DuPont, the heir to the DuPont fortune who killed an Olympic wrestler on the massive DuPont estate. His defense claimed paranoid schizophrenia but he was still found guilty. Steve Carell will play the challenging role. And, given what Carell has been able to do in Little Miss Sunshine and even Crazy, Stupid, Love. is there any reason to believe this couldn't be an Oscar nominated  next career step? This project is so fresh it doesn't even have an IMDb page yet (though I suspect that will change today given that this news is all over the 'net)

I guess Bennett Miller is only going to do true stories that are essentially tiny- window biopics of famous or somehow notorious men: Capote, Moneyball, Foxcatcher? It's a niche but at least everyone agrees that he's good at it. As for tiny-window biopics -- they're the best kind! The only good kind.


NYFF: "Melancholia" This Is The Way The World Ends 

[Editor's Note: Our NYFF coverage begins! You'll be hearing from Michael and Kurt and me. -Nathaniel]

Hey, everybody. Serious Film’s Michael C. here reporting from the New York Film Festival. I’m jumping right into the deep end of the pool with the first title so let’s get to it.

When the world ends in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia it is definitely going to be with a bang and not a whimper. The film opens with a stunning series of images centered around a rogue planet spinning out from behind the sun on a course to smash into Earth like a wrecking ball. It’s a dark nihilistic death dance, the B-side to Tree of Life’s sun-dappled song of life. The sequence alone is worth the price of admission.

From there the film splits neatly into halves. The first concerns the wedding of clinically depressed bride Kirsten Dunst to “aw shucks” wholesome groom Alexander Skarsgård. The second concerns Dunst and sister Charlotte Gainsbourg grappling with the whole possible destruction of the planet thing. Both halves follow similar arcs with characters hoping against hope that the worst case scenario can be avoided before remembering that this is, after all, a von Trier movie.

I’m not sure splitting up the stories was the wisest choice, since the second half never recovers the energy of the wedding scenes. I could write that the second half creaks under the weight of its symbolism, but if Von Trier is willing to fill the sky with an ominous death planet named after his own depression, who am I to point out that the whole thing is a bit "on the nose"?

Melancholia would have to qualify as a minor disappointment considering the shattering impact Von Trier is capable of, but still, it's an experience worth having. The whole cast is aces. Dunst rises to the occasion with a bone deep convincing portrayal of smothering depression, while Kiefer Sutherland, to my surprise, punches through in a big way as Gainsbourg’s wealthy put-upon husband. Best of all, is the wall to wall breathtaking cinematography by Manuel Alberto Claro, which, by the way, is probably the film's best shot at awards attention. The whole thing has a cumulative effect greater than the sum of its flaws.


John Wood (RIP) and Link Roundup

Before the link roundups I wanted to say a fond farewell to British actor John Wood who died at 81 this weekend in his sleep. I'll always remember him as the Bishop of Aquila who was driven to madness and lust by the beauty of the young Michelle Pfeiffer in Ladyhawke (1985). It happens.

Though the Tony winner spent much of his time on stage he also had several screen roles including parts in hits like War Games (1983), critical darlings like Orlando (1993) and The Purple Rose of Cairo (1995) and Oscar favorites like The Madness of King George (1994) and Chocolat (2000). His final feature film was also the final Merchant/Ivory film The White Countess (2005). RIP John Wood.

Socialite Life Harry Shum Jr (Glee) is taking voice lessons. Guess he doesn't wanna wear that "CAN'T SING" t-shirt on the show anymore.
Vulture surveys Southern accents in the movies and compares them to the real thing.
Kenneth in the (212) remembers Body Heat (1981) and bemoans the passage of time. It gets us all!
i09 Matt Damon is playing a cyborg in Neil Blomkamp's District 9 follow up Elysium. Here's some unofficial photos so proceed at your own risk.
Cinema Blend surveys the extremely crowded December release schedule... in 2012. It's already crazy. Zombie epic World War Z with Brad Pitt is the latest inductee. 

Stale Popcorn Glenn surveys the 60 (gasp) films he watched at the Melbourne Film Festival. Drive gets his number one spot and Melancholia is another favorite.

Off Cinema
The Awl shares t-shirts on view at 2011's Lollapalooza (they still have that?). This amused me for some reason. 
Tom Shone on the election of 2012 and Rachel Maddow's problematic prediction. I so agree and Shone always give good prose.