Prelude to Melancholia: This Is How the End Begins

Prelude to Melancholia: This Is How the End Begins

The Earth is evil,
We don’t need to grieve for it
.”

There are 16 mini-scenes in Lars von Trier’s hauntingly beautiful eight-minute prelude to Melancholia, a movie about love, family and the apocalypse. The soundtrack for the overture to Melancholia is the exquisite prelude to Wagner’s 1859 opera, Tristan and Isolde, an opera Wagner described as “one of endless yearning, longing, the bliss and wretchedness of love; world, power, fame, honor, chivalry, loyalty and friendship all blown away like an insubstantial dream,” for which there is “one sole redemption-death, finality, a sleep without awakening.”

The movie, among Mr. von Trier’s greatest, stars Kirsten Dunst as Justine, a young advertising copywriter who, shortly after she gets married, endures two separate yet related catastrophes. A wedding party at an ocean-side golf resort owned by Justine’s brother-in-law ends with her new husband leaving, which in turn brings on the depression that overtakes her and seems to inaugurate the end of the world or her dream of the same. Many of the movie’s themes are introduced in the overture’s first minutes, a masterpiece in miniature that presents a deep reflection of literary, artistic and cinematic allusions.

Melancholia was named Best Picture at The 2011 European Film Awards in Berlin; the film also won awards for cinematography and production design. Previously, Kirsten Dunst won the Best Actress Award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival for her performance in Melancholia. Last week, The National Society of Film Critics named Lars Von Trier’s end-of-the-world drama Melancholia Best Picture, and Best Actress honors went to Kirsten Dunst for her performance in the film.

Read more about Prelude to Melancholia in The New York Times here.

Prelude to Melancholia: This Is How the End Begins

Melancholia: The Official Trailer

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Lookout, Lookout: The Heartfelt Sounds of Forgiveness

 

Lookout, Lookout: The Heartfelt Sounds of Forgiveness

Mary, Mary-belle within a bird-cage cell,
All your neighbors know what your mother sells,
But you carved out a name;
You carved out a name for yourself.
Look out, look out,
Look out, Look out,
There are murders about.

Lookout, Lookout is the heartwrenching, honest and unabashedly sad music video from the astonishing debut album by Seattle-based singer-songwriter Mike Hadreas (aka Perfume Genius).  Learning is a devastatingly lovely premiere album, a collection of songs that starkly explores the dark and melancholy world of drugs, depression, suicide and abuse.  Hadreas has described the songs as having been written in an attempt to gain some understanding of his own troubled life, and they were originally intended to be heard by only his closest friends.

When close attention is paid, the music here is gut-wrenching, sad and fearlessly honest, while at the same time maintaining a dignified sense of resigned acceptance.  Perfume Genius has managed to craft some of the finest heartfelt, new indie-music this side of the millennium, with sounds and plain-spoken lyrics that can tap into your inner emotions.  Hadreas’s voice stands out with a  soft-spoken tenderness and ethereal quality on the track Gay Angels, which switches from piano chords to minimalistic organ drones.  Lookout, Lookout can push you to the point of possibly offering empathic, compassionate forgiveness to anyone who you feel  has done wrong to you over the past few years.

Lookout, Lookout: The Heartfelt Sounds of Forgiveness

Gay Angels: Hearing and Seeing Them (Perfume Genius)

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