Wandering in the Apocalyptical Schlaraffenland. Symbols, Tropes and Motifs in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia

Iulia MICU


This paper focuses on the sources of Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, especially in the history of art, but also on some important mythological motifs and on the infuence of Wagner’s music in his flm. The Danish flmmaker calls for a reassessment of ancient texts and symbols in an attempt to anchor them to a tangible and contemporary reality. Trier moves beyond any expectation by reinforcing some traditional or supernatural cultural patterns. A few motifs and themes (the Heat Death of the Universe, The Great Depression, the madness, the image of the woman as the witness to the end of humanity) fuse with the postmodern liberated text from a very concrete meaning in order to express the morbid anxieties of our contemporary world. The unusual situation pushes the viewer’s expectation to the extreme by the excessively estheticism of the interiors in contrast with the chaotic state of mind of the protagonist.

Keywords: melancholy, memory, loss, apocalypse, depression, archive, disaster