Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Hysteria

Posted 02 Jul 2012 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Alice Shindelar

Hysteria, UK / France / Germany / Luxembourg, 2011

Directed by Tanya Wexler

Hysteria serves up a particularly dark period of feminine history and covers it in doilies and pink sparkles, until macabre 19th-century England coughs out an unlikely romantic comedy with yet another clumsy male lead and a punchy female love interest. Hysteria, directed by Tanya Wexler, serves up a particularly dark period of feminine history and covers it in doilies and pink sparkles, until macabre 19th-century England coughs out an unlikely romantic comedy with yet another clumsy male lead and a punchy female love interest. Worse yet, it’s not clear this film is a romantic comedy until the third act.

When I caught wind that a film with Maggie Gyllenhaal about the invention of vibrators would soon be released, Hysteria jumped to the top of my list of movies to see. The story follows Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy), a progressive young doctor who insists on washing his hands before operating on a patient, a revolutionary move at the time. Out of work, Granville applies for a job at the top clinic in London serving women with hysteria. His employer, Dr. Robert Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce) informs him “half the women in London are effected.” For close to 2,000 years of European history, hysteria referred to a catch-all medical condition thought to cause everything from depression, to headaches, to a disinterest in copulation with one’s 30-second husband, a.k.a. any woman who wasn’t happy with a life of childbirth, corsets, and overall slavery to men.  Read More

Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia

Posted 22 Apr 2012 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Melancholia, Denmark / Sweden / France / Germany, 2011

Written and Directed by Lars von Trier

Melancholia is a very difficult and challenging film, and I can't honestly say I enjoyed every moment of it, but enjoyment is hardly the point when dealing with such a deep and intelligent examination of despair. Lars von Trier’s latest is by no means my favorite of his films, but I do feel much more charitable about than he apparently does. Here is what the great Danish artist / provocateur has to say, excerpted from his statement on the film’s official website: “This is cream on cream. A woman’s film! I feel ready to reject the film like a transplanted organ … I am confused now and feel guilty. What have I done? Is it ‘exit Trier?’ I cling to the hope that there may be a bone splinter amid all the cream that may, after all, crack a fragile tooth … I close my eyes and hope!”

As gifted a filmmaker as von Trier certainly is, he doesn’t seem to quite have the knack for self-promotion. Then again, this could be yet another example of the perverse, impish delight he seems to take in his own self-destruction, as most recently evidenced in his controversial “I am a Nazi” joke at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. This is oddly appropriate to Melancholia, which, as the title suggests, is largely about the mysterious, fascinating pull of deep, all-encompassing depression, as well as the beauty and peace to be found in the complete destruction of absolutely everything. In fact, the latter – the incredibly gorgeous apocalyptic images that bookend the film – mainly functions as a metaphor for the former. The planet Melancholia, which has supposedly been “hiding behind the sun,” threatens to destroy all life on Earth as it draws near, yet it is also described as the most beautiful sight we will ever see. Depression may be always lurking just behind the nurturing light of life, but when it finally shows itself, we find that it is more absorbing and actually enjoyable, in a perverse way, than happiness. Read More