Outside of the arthouse moviegoing community, most people aren't all that familiar with the work of Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier. Not a stranger to attracting controversy - or accusations that he's more than a bit pretentious - the writer/director's resume includes such famous (or infamous) projects like Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, and Antichrist.
The auteur's latest film, Melancholia, arrives in theaters this year and the trailer suggests that it will be a brooding and somber (shocking, I know) meditation on the value of life - as it unfolds through the framework of an apocalyptic story.
Melancholia revolves around a sisterly pair - Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) - who find their relationship portrayed in a new light as another planet threatens to collide with Earth. A stellar cast that includes Kiefer Sutherland (24), Charlotte Rampling (Never Let Me Go), John Hurt (the Harry Potter franchise), Stellan Skarsgård (Thor) and his son Alexander (True Blood), serve as side players in the piece.
Slow-moving and stylishly lit, this early footage from Melancholia reveals that von Trier's take on the end of Earthly life is quite different than, say, Roland Emmerich's portrayal of the situation - in case there was any actual doubt on the matter.
Check out the Melancholia trailer (NOTE: A couple of brief but revealing shots of a naked Dunst make this preview NSFW) below:
Melancholia looks to feature most of what have become known as von Trier's hallmarks, both in terms of style (yellow-tinted cinematography) and substance (Noirish atmosphere, relationship drama). Chances are good that you either have little interest in arthouse fare like this, or are already familiar with von Trier and have your own thoughts on his work. I mention that to say: Melancholia looks to appeal largely to those who already love his films, basically.
However, if you're in the mood to see a film about the world ending that is often harsh and surreal, doesn't involve loads of CGI or explosions, and was created by the guy whose last movie included this scene (warning: that link is... mostly weird, but kind of NSFW too), then Melancholia might be right for you.
Melancholia is scheduled for a limited theatrical release in the U.S. on May 26th, 2011.
Source: Zentropa Entertainments/Magnolia Pictures
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