Apocalypse is Despair

Melancholia was such an interesting and EXTREMELY depressing film.  However, that was the intention of the plot, was it not?  The fact that the film starts off with a montage of the practical events of the destruction of the world makes it feel like that it is getting that portion of the story out of the way so that we may focus on what is really important.

The film is divided in two parts, focusing between two sisters.  One sister, Justine, is suffering from a form of manic depression, where we see her practically implode, along with her wedding, marriage, and family relationship.  It is a story of an inner apocalypse, and how someone with manic depression experiences and deals with this condition.  The second part focuses on her relatively normal sister, Claire, whom it is revealed that the world is very certainly going to end so catastrophically that there is no hope, at all.  Her whole idea of life is challenged and she, too, begins to fall a part much like her sister did.

The only differences between the two is the sources of this overwhelming force of destruction.  One interior, one exterior.  The juxtaposition is so concrete in this film, not only in their emotions, but also in the reaction of those around them.  When our manic depressive Justine falls apart, Claire cannot help but show her malcontent with the way she is behaving, but of course she still loves her sister and is there for her, despite her faults.  And when Claire’s life (along with the rest of the world) falls apart, Justine is disgusted by the way she is acting, but also still loves her sister and is there with her until the end.

The point of the film, in my eyes, was to help the viewers relate to what manic depression feels like, comparing the end of the world to hopelessness, despair.  What do you think the message of the film was? How well do you think the film maker portrayed manic depression?

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