Tuesday, December 6, 2011

melancholia (another another earth).

Lars von Trier's Melancholia has the same plot as Another Earth.

This is the Alchemical Wedding. (The theme lately has been the journey from the girl's--spirit's--perspective.)


The planet Melancholia (a name traditionally applied to Saturn, the alchemical Black Sun) is first seen in the sky on Kirsten Dunst's (the light anima) wedding night. This planet brings Death as the first encounter with Self. Osiris is a Black God. (Sirius Black.)

Alchemical bath

Thus, predictably, Dunst goes all Nigredo on this piece and falls into the slough of despond (descent into the Underworld). (And if you think that this sounds similar to the planet "Mr. Shadow" in The Fifth Element, you would be right.) In Another Earth, the first sighting of Earth 2 is the catalyst for Rhoda being thrown in jail. Princess Diana, too, dies after the first coniunctio.

This is when Charlotte Gainsbourg, the dark anima, takes over, as the light anima has become near-catatonic. These are Betty and Veronica, after a certain manner, "meant to represent two halves of von Trier's psyche," as one reviewer puts it. The father (John Hurt) declares there to be "two Bettys" at the wedding (Dunst being "Justine Betty")--hinting that there exists a light anima at the start of the Work, and another, psychically-whole "Betty" anima at the end of the Work, after having integrated the "Veronica" shadow-anima of the unconscious. Veronica is the daughter of Hiram Lodge; i.e., she is the result of Masonic Initiation.

To use the terminology of the Neoplatonists, these represent the Rational Soul (Dunst), who descends from on high into the darkness of the world, and the Irrational Soul (Gainsborg), the Anima Mundi, who generates the body out of herself.

The three figures who will survive to the End are the Osiris-Isis-Horus triangle of Plutarch as Luminosity (Dunst), Space (Gainsbourg), and its product (the Child as the emergent Cosmos). In this time of crisis, they have to protect the Son, Leo--the nascent Lion King, Harpocrates--the Aeon. They will build a new world together.

Dunst as the Logos creates caves with him; i.e. temples. Dunst's boss, an advertising executive, attempts to coax from her a "tagline," i.e., the Secret Word (Logos) of a Master Builder, but he is unworthy of her. Gainsbourg has, on one hand, birthed the cave of the cosmos, but it is evil; Aunt Steelbreaker will create another cave in the spiritual temple from the pattern of the Ecclesia above.

Leo calls Dunst "Aunt Steelbreaker," i.e., the Grace that will open the Black Iron Prison. In a word, Dunst is Christ--not the psychic Christ of the Outer Church, but the pneumatic Christ of the Gnostics, the Light from above that is immersed in the realm of darkness. A "Steel-Breaker" is the spiritual Savior who liberates, in distinction from Willem Dafoe of Von Trier's previous Antichrist, the human Savior, who is only of a psychic nature.

It's Dogville again (another Lars von Trier film)--
"The beautiful fugitive, Grace, arrives in the isolated township of Dogville on the run from a team of gangsters. With some encouragement from Tom, the self-appointed town spokesman, the little community agrees to hide her and in return, Grace agrees to work for them. However, when a search sets in, the people of Dogville demand a better deal in exchange for the risk of harboring poor Grace and she learns the hard way that in this town, goodness is relative."
The Divine Grace (Nicole "Kid-Man," the "Sun of Man") enters into their midst (being a fugitive from the Curse of the Law) and, like an avenging angel, burns the old city (the Tower) to the ground. "And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."

Dunst of Melancholia is surrounded by male figures who progressively disappear as Melancholia draws closer, as if to symbolize the gradual dissolution of the ego and the psychic lower nature. Kiefer Sutherland (named John in the film, paralleling Another Earth--as in John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ) goes Suicide King --killing of the Father is a necessary act.

Kirsten Dunst develops strange psychic powers--she's full of secrets. She knows that the old Earth must be destroyed. Melancholia (Self) will impact Earth, bringing about the union of Heaven and Earth.

The Son in Antichrist is Nick, or "Old Nick," which is poor Willem's too-late realization--the Cosmos is Satan's church.

The two animas and the Son construct a Cave of Magick (the still point of the Self) to withstand the end of the world. As revealed in the film's opening sequence (their death was predestined, like Romeo and Juliet) the New Earth brings the complete incineration of all old forms. It is an apocalypse in every sense of the word. "I have crushed an Universe; & nought remains."

The Shadow of Matter is destroyed and the Earth is replaced with the Paradigm that exists eternally.

In Another Earth, there is a similar merging of above and below: in the closing moment of the film, Rhoda's Earth 2 twin descends to our Earth to meet our Rhoda--the two worlds become one.

A sort of appendix to this post is now available HERE.


  1. A gorgeous film. Van Trier's work demands to be seen on the big screen.
    There is a reference to "two Betty's" at the wedding, involving Dunst's drunk father and two bridesmaids in blue.

  2. You are some sort of movie-watching machine. Thanks for that reminder, I added a bit that tries to explain it. I've been pinging with Archie's archietypes like crazy lately.

  3. I never connected Archie with Archetype (I love The Archietypes written above). The Hiram Lodge is especially telling.

    Any thoughts on the seeming importance of the golf course?

    I have thrown around the idea of movies with an NC-33 rating, a rating that a film must earn. von Trier definitely aspires to make films of this distinction.

  4. It's Quidditch again, I think. Old men try to use their rods of iron and wood to make a Holy One. That a sexual interpretation is meant seems to be confirmed when Kirsten Dunst fucks the boyish Seeker of the Lost Word (the "tagline") on the golf course. At the end of the film she arrives at the 19th hole--we are in uncharted waters.

    Donnie Darko also begins on the golf course (the "green," i.e. regeneration) and ends with the destruction of the world.

  5. Birdies and eagles are the goals of golf, and if you're lucky, the double-eagle, also known as an "albatross". It is a game dominated by a Tiger the last ten years. Before that, it was dominated by the Golden Bear.

    The lowest round of golf recorded in a professional event is a 59, 13 under par. To my knowledge, no one has ever been under par on every single hole of an 18 hole round, an accomplishment that is attainable, yet seemingly impossible. It is a truly glorious sport.

  6. I watched Muriel's Wedding last week. It was oddly disturbing, yet prescient. The film strongly features ABBA songs, and Muriel, the antagonistic protagonist, finally gets what she wants, which is the perfect alchemical wedding. Oddly this leaves to a divorce, since they learn the true meaning of marriage - Muriel goes back to her dark haired girl. The oft repeated sign is "You can't stop progress!" .

  7. Albert Rosenfield: [to Sheriff Truman] Now you listen to me. While I will admit to a certain cynicism, the fact is that I am a naysayer and hatchetman in the fight against violence. I pride myself in taking a punch and I'll gladly take another because I choose to live my life in the company of Gandhi and King. My concerns are global. I reject absolutely revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method... is love. I love you Sheriff Truman.

  8. John Hurt also complains that "there is no spoon" at his table.

    I'm sure mopey old Lars would balk at the suggestion that he was referencing Archie and The Matrix.

  9. Kirsten Dunst is "Aunt Steel-Breaker." Another prison break--Grace (the plasmate) and the Black Iron Prison (Dogville).

    The Castle is the Overlook; Leo is Danny Torrance.

  10. The iron armies are led by three fearsome generals, each representing a different race. These leaders are known as Stormcaller Brundir, Runemaster Molgeim, and Steelbreaker. World of War Craft...

  11. Justine has elements of Camus' "Stranger", or could easily have been a character in Sartre's "Roads to Freedom". Malraux could have written this script. Unforgettable. Should be shown at midnight on the V. Equinox followed by "The Rapture". The Knight here (John, not Michael) chose the dark homely sister in the inversion of the archetypal legend. The wedding reception sequence is a parody of Cimino's "Deer Hunter" reception and Copola's etc. Justine's conclusion about life on Earth cannot be told to anyone--it has to be realized.

  12. Someone else who makes interesting observations about film likes your comments and refers their readers to you with a link. See . . .

    1. Hi, thanks for the heads-up. The popularity of this article, given how short it is, has been rather strange; I blame Google. It finally motivated me to do some revisions and even make a sort of sequel.

  13. I was glad to be led to Balthazar . . . Not brilliant like MaskofGod, but a decent writer with some clever remarks.
    Link to your "sort of sequel" please? And thanks for your insights!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...