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Melancholia & Tree of Life - WTF?

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Hello folks, first time on these forums, I'm basically here to promote- No I'm totally kidding.

The title of the thread says it all - Is it me, or does anybody else not get these films at all?

What I mean is, is it just me who doesn't 'get' these Arty films? It's not that I don't appreciate them, don't get me wrong, I can see why they are well received (ish) by so many people, but I don't get what the big deal is. It's too 'abstract' for me.

Is anybody else confused by random shots (that do look good) and pretty imagery? It's not that I'm ignorant, I just don't see the appeal.

I'd like to know what everyone here thinks, I'm not sure what kind of community this is, but it'd be nice to get different takes on it.



I know Planet wrote a Heidegger approached analysis to The Tree of Life. I have my own ideas about what it dealt with, which basically has a lot to do with that Job quote from the beginning, but I can expand that.

Melancholia isn't that hard to understand in my opinion.



...and this is what I mean, am I that stupid as to not know what I'm seeing? Have I been watching too many 'mainstream' films? Has it dumbed me down that much? I mean, I'm a filmmaker too, but I just can't see what you seem to have understood from it.



Haven't seen Melancholia, looks OK. The Tree of Life on the other hand is garbage. Mallick has many films that are tons better. I also don't buy that Pitt did a great acting job in the movie. Yeah, standing around looking confused or somber or lost is like, a forgotten art form, apparently.

Look, if I wanted to watch a documentary with lots of pretty pictures then I would have. This is neither a film or a documentary.

I did think the lava was pretty...
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I guess I should have mentioned that I GET Melancholia, I just don't understand it's approach.

ToL, on the other hand...



i'm SUPER GOOD at Jewel karaoke
I guess I should have mentioned that I GET Melancholia, I just don't understand it's approach.
elaborate, please. you say you can appreciate 'artsy' films but then you also say you don't 'get what the big deal is'. since you're the one asking, why not go into a bit more detail about what you don't understand about Melancholia?
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Haven't seen Melancholia, but I thought The Tree of Life was ok. Pretty imagery, yes, but a bit of a bore as well. Malick deserves a Best Director nomination, but i'd give it a
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Wow, mega response.

Let me elaborate about Melancholia - I suppose what I'm mainly referring to are the scenes with Dunst and the 'electricity' stemming from her fingertips. Is this some sort of metaphor?

With Tree of Life, it was it's incessant pretty shot montages that really annoyed me. It's stuff like that I just don't understand. If I don't understand it's visuals, I find it hard to follow the story.

At University, we were taught that "Everything in Film has a meaning", and I get that, but if I don't get certain things, does this make me ignorant? Stupid, even?

Thanks, Mark, so far, I've made one (so not much of a Filmmaker yet), but I'm always writing and writing up ideas. Since i finished University, I find it hard to find time to physically do something and find time to look after my site. I'm from England, btw.

Gotta say too, I'm liking this place already. It's nice to have a conversation about Films with someone who actually wants to!



At University, we were taught that "Everything in Film has a meaning", and I get that, but if I don't get certain things, does this make me ignorant? Stupid, even?
Probably.
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Let me elaborate about Melancholia - I suppose what I'm mainly referring to are the scenes with Dunst and the 'electricity' stemming from her fingertips. Is this some sort of metaphor?
Marquis de Sade had a story called Justine, which I think is linked to this film because of thematic similarities. Basically in the story Justine aims to redeem herself from her vices which leads to major depressive symptoms and eventually dies from being struck by lightning. In the film Justine's depression is symbolized by the behemoth size of the planet, I think, and so the electricity was chosen as a motif for a representation of her role in society, and she represents how von Trier feels about himself, so the static is almost a reaction to the coming end. Also if you know anything about Tristan & Isolde the amount of morbid circumstances apropos love relates a lot to this as well.

With Tree of Life, it was it's incessant pretty shot montages that really annoyed me. It's stuff like that I just don't understand. If I don't understand it's visuals, I find it hard to follow the story.
I'm surprised it's being taken so seriously to be honest. To me it's simply a film about religious exploration, and while the conclusion is inherently vague, the montage style, which is virtually the whole film, works simply because it's a reflection and not a narrative. I do think that certain films need to be watched with a specific type of attention and this film being a 3 hour long montage threw a lot of people off. Maybe not your thing, sure, but hardly garbage.

EDIT: I should make a disclaimer I saw Melancholia once while drunk (loved it anyway) and what I said may not make sense chronologically. I'm watching it again soon though.



Not garbage at all, no. Just because it isn't clear doesn't mean it's garbage. It's shot beautifully, but like you said, it's the montage thing that threw me off.

Melancholia's a lot more clearer after that, thanks. I suppose I need to watch it again to get it.

Nice to know there are people who know what they're talking about about Film.



I mean, the electricity thing doesn't unlock the film haha but in my opinion it's a reference and yet another mere symbol. The thing I've come to understand about von Trier is that the message is pretty much in the foreground, so the symbols and everything else are used to communicate on the subtleties of the themes. And I wasn't referencing you with the garbage thing, don't worry.



Haha, no no I know, but it does make it a little clearer to understand. I feel stupid that I even need to ASK someone about thematic elements in a film... I review films, I write about films and run a film site and I'm a 'filmmaker' - yet I still have much to learn. <sigh>

And yeah, I know you weren't, but I needed to say it wasn't :P



i'm SUPER GOOD at Jewel karaoke
I mean, the electricity thing doesn't unlock the film haha but in my opinion it's a reference and yet another mere symbol. The thing I've come to understand about von Trier is that the message is pretty much in the foreground, so the symbols and everything else are used to communicate on the subtleties of the themes. And I wasn't referencing you with the garbage thing, don't worry.
ergh. damn you for making being insightful look so easy when it takes me real effort just to string a few sentences together!

the thing that threw me off by what the OP said was how he "got" Melancholia, but he didn't understand the approach. would you have preferred another end of the world disaster action flick or something?

anyway, i thought the main point of Melancholia was how those who are seriously depressed (like Justine) are much more likely to keep their head in times of a crisis. Lars von Trier came up with the idea after he himself went through an episode similar to what Dunst goes through in the film. this is why the end-of-the-world story is really in the background.

i'm not sure if most would say they enjoy films like Melancholia or Tree of Life. knowing you've just watched something powerful and accomplished doesn't always equate to pleasurable experience.



i'm not sure if most would say they enjoy films like Melancholia or Tree of Life. knowing you've just watched something powerful and accomplished doesn't always equate to pleasurable experience.
This is a whole other debate in of itself