The National Society of Film Critics, of which I am a member, had a choice between "Life" and death today, and they chose death. That is to say, Lars Von Trier's doomsday celebration "Melancholia" beat out Terence Malick's cheerier "Tree of Life" for Best Picture by one vote. "Tree of Life" would make a comeback with Best Director and Best Cinematography somewhat later in the four-and-a-half meeting, but not before "Melancholia' scored again with Best Actress with Kirsten Dunst.
Here "The Artist" impressively scores number one on three more lists. I
feel so bad that's it's not my favorite movie. More divisive are "J.
Edgar," "War Horse," and "Melancholia, which have been showing up on
both best and worst lists. Sometimes from the same critic.
1. "The Artist"
I just came from a screening of David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method," in which Keira Knightley as Sabina
Spielrein kicks and screams and laughs hysterically as she's dragged from a
carriage into the Bürgholzi Mental Hospital to be treated by Michael
Fassbender's Carl Jung.
Yesterday I went to a screening of "Young Adult,"
directed by Jason Reitman from a script by Diablo Cody, in which Charlize
Theron (an old hand at disturbed characters after her serial killer in
"Monster") plays a woman who is acutely depressed, alcoholic, and
self-destructively obsessed with a man she went out with over fifteen years
Lars von Triers's new film "Melancholia" will have its work cut out for it to be
as transgressive as his last one, "Antichrist" (though the director might have
outdone himself in his boorishness promoting the film ).
But this story of a miserable well-to-do family joining the rest of us 99%-ers
in a world-ending collision with another planet should live up to its title.
What's the world coming to when a filmmaker can't joke about
the Nazis and the Final Solution during a Cannes
press conference? Lars Von Trier is a Dane and Denmark's decidedly non-Jewish king
put on a yellow star during the war, bravely defying the Nazis. Does this offer
residual protection for inane rambling by depression-prone provocateurs who
make movies in the 21st century? Nah --
but Von Trier is a Nazi like Britney Spears is an intellectual.
It's a shame that the world, according to Rapture experts, ends May 21 because that
means we'll miss some interesting end of the world movies. Not necessarily films in which the world ends with a bang, like "Armageddon" or '2012," but more the whimper
kind-- reflective and philosophical.
Like Lars Von Triers's "Melancholia,"
which just premiered at Cannes.