I recently spent a few weeks up in New England where I spent my time writing and catching up on films. The atmosphere almost called for it; a snowy landscape with freezing temperatures, a large house all to myself during the day. I became a pajama clad woman curled up in a large leather chair next to a fireplace. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my time. It was that or worry needlessly about things I did not have any control over. I chose to spend my time creatively.
I decided to write..and watch films. As I culled through dozens of movies available on Netlfix and On Demand, I thought back on the string of disappointing films that I had seen over the summer. “The Tree of Life”(which was almost a perfect film except for the last twenty minutes or so) ,”Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” & “The Gaurd.” With the exception of Woody Allen’s magnificent “Midnight in Paris,” almost every single film I have seen in the past year has been dull and uninspiring. I may come off sounding like a cynical film critic here but I am truly just bummed out by the lack of good films out there right now.Perhaps I hope that the films I pay to see are not going to be lazy or bogged down with cliché after cliché. I believe there are so many interesting stories to tell, yet filmmakers get caught up in nonsensical plot lines and old ideas. I do look forward to seeing “The Artist” and “Take Shelter.” I have heard nothing but positive things about these two films.
Just when I was feeling like it had been ages since I had seen a truly intriguing film, I discovered Lars von Trier’s beautiful “Melancholia.” I had seen the trailer back in September and became instantly intrigued by it. The film has an archaic, dreamy quality to it that is extremely rare. The director was heavenly influenced by early German filmmakers and his appreciation for those films is evident. “Melancholia” shines in its morose slowness. It has an elegance to it that can only be attributed to the fact that Lars von Trier is a talented and unique filmmaker. It is both lovely and haunting. A film that offers a different kind of philosophy than ” The Tree of Life.”
* I have since changed my mind in regards to “The Tree of Life.” I watched it a second time in film class and discovered philosophical themes in the film that I had previously missed. I have now seen the film four times, and enjoy it more than I did the first time I watched it. It is quite a remarkable piece of work.