And, yes, this is still about the enormous, so-far-unnamed planet of doom that is creeping our way.
Lars Von Trier has a painterly eye as a director, as well as, apparently, Tourette's syndrome. At the Cannes presser, with a clearly embarrassed Kirstin Dunst sitting next to him, he gave a rambling answer that included the words, "I am a Nazi," but in a tentative and unconvincing way.
Man, if you're going to say you are a Nazi, you'd better sell it.
He suffers from depression, and the planet Melancholia is the film's way of expressing the inexorable, hopeless process of that disease.
Dunst's character also suffers from severe depression, but as Melancholia gets closer, paradoxically, her depression has equipped her with the resources to meet the calamity. Her super-competent sister, played by Charlotte Gainsborough, a Von Trier staple, falls apart. (Gainsborough is the daughter of Serge Gainsborough, whose memorable duet with Jane Birkin, Je t'aime... moi non plus was condemned by the Vatican as indecent, and not because of the lyrics.)
Dunst gives a wonderful performance, and Kiefer Sutherland is solid as the chipper, "Oh, don't worry, that thing's going to miss us by a billion miles," husband of the sister. It's actually a good film in parts.
Having said all that, while it is not run-from-the-theater-screaming awful like all his other movies (which you should never, ever watch) the Bear cannot recommend it without heavy qualifications. It has some "artsy" nudity, with lingering shots of Kirstin Dunst "planet bathing" in the eerie blue light of Melancholia. The Bear and his mate pretty much did a Mystery Science Theater 3000 on it, which wasn't hard. Somewhere there's a photoshopped picture the Bear's son did of Lars Von Trier fighting a polar bear with a spork. Yes, we were that into Melancholia hate.
But the Bear has some good news, and some bad news.
The very best sequence from the movie, the opening, set to Wagner's Love Death from Tristan und Isolde, is appended to this article. If you like art films, you'll probably enjoy it. The attention to strange details (just what would it look like if Earth got eaten by a giant killer planet?) is beautiful. Don't worry about plot, just take in the imagery. You'll see what the Bear means by Von Trier's painterly eye. Notice details like the double shadows on the lawn. Prepare to be enthralled for six minutes.
The bad news is that the only possible name for this new planet is Melancholia. Sometime, maybe 10,000 years from now, maybe less, people will be building pathetic stick-tepees as birds fall from the sky.