Lars Von Trier's Depression Trilogy

A look at Von Trier’s three films (AntiChrist, Melancholia, and Nymphomaniac) and an analysis on the theme of depression and how it is portrayed in each film. Questions to consider include: does Von Trier start and end with the same perspective on depression? Are there parallels between the films and, if so, how are they explored?

  • I would offer that to go forward with this topic, you would need to first distinguish "depression" from other forms of mental illness. For example, does the couple in Antichrist truly battle with depression, or is it PTSD as a result of losing their child? The language of mental illness that you would intend to use would need to be solidified--I'm not an expert at all in the different psychological make-ups of mental illnesses, but I know there are others that would appreciate the distinction. Secondly, I would note the difference between a film that showcases a character with "depression" (or another mental illness), and a film that is "depressing" to the audience. For example, I have watched Melancholia several times and I actually find the film to be beautiful and even uplifting rather than depressing. Is this a consequence of my own personal viewing of the film, or did Von Trier in fact strive for a more ambiguous feeling in Melancholia rather than a slew of sadness and despair as the film's title implies? Certainly it would be interesting to draw parallels between the three films, and you could do so on many levels: marriage, sexuality, children/adult relationships, the significance of scenery and mise-en-scene, etc. This is an interesting topic, but maybe narrowing the subject matter down to looking at depression in the three films but through one lens (again, whether that's mise-en-scene, gender relations, etc.) would make this topic more narrow and therefore more specific. Good luck! – RachelWatson 7 years ago

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