Director: Lars von Trier
Year Released: 2011
The brooding Dane's ode to sadness consists of two intertwined halves involving two close-knit sisters: part one has Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and her new husband attending their wedding reception, which ends in Justine cheating on her husband and falling into a pit of despair, while part two has Justine's sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her scientist husband (Kiefer Sutherland) watching a mysterious planet get closer to Earth. Von Trier's been quoted as saying that he made his previous film, Antichrist, as a way to combat his own depression, and here he films Depression Itself: the seemingly unshakeable feeling of melancholy, the sense that one's own world is irresolvable. Dunst's character sees the end of her own world while Gainsbourg's character fears for humanity's survival - Dunst is better off, it seems, as she's already embraced her own end: it's a devastating parallel. Of course, as filmmaking, it's a little slipshod and flimsy and negative, but the performances are very strong. The second half of this reminds me of Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice, though I'm most certain Von Trier doesn't believe in either the afterlife or the goodness of mankind ("The Earth is evil. No one will grieve for it.").