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Melancholia: A Movie That Changed How I Thought (Collaboration with My Jars of Joy)

In 2011 when this film was released I was in my first year at University. Before starting University I'd always thought outside of the box. I found it difficult to stay within academic boundaries. It's incredibly difficult for me to explain how my mind works and I'm absolutely positive that many others think the same way about their own mind. There is something hidden beneath my 'normal' thought. It's not a voice or a physical thing. It's a process of thought that just happens. I suppose the closest thing I can think of that sort of explains it is 'over-thinking'. It can be scary, frustrating yet beautiful all the same. I suppose I should give an example.

As I am typing this post I am sitting on an arm chair in my living room. The open window to my right is blowing in a cold stream of air. I look out the window and see the clouds in the sky with the sun behind them, there is an aura of warmth amongst the cold breeze. So I've looked out the window, seen and felt nature and my thoughts are along the lines of, 'how beautiful'. Some people would stop their train of thought there and get back to whatever it was they were doing before. Here is where 'it' happens. In no time at all I'm thinking about what's behind the clouds, then the Earth as a singular mass in the vast Universe. What is the Universe? It physically exists, it is not a theory; we've seen it. What is it that holds everything together? Will we ever understand dark matter? What are our brains capable of? These questions, thoughts and theories rush around my head. I know I am very weird! All I did was look out of the window. I know it's quite normal to have moments like this. I need to be honest and say that almost all the time this happens. There is not a day that goes by where I haven't worked myself into a neurological mess. When I say always, I mean always. I find it frustrating that no one close to me has the exact same way of thinking. I was naive. I thought I was the only one who thought this way. In my mind I had invented 'Philosophy' although I didn't call it that.

It was when I started University that my mind opened, and I studied Modern Liberal Arts. Suddenly there were people who lived their lives like this. I didn't know it but I was a pupil of Socrates before I knew who Socrates was! I don't want to get off track now, as I can see myself doing so. I've set up a little background now, which will hopefully help you understand my feelings towards my chosen film; Melancholia. 

(You might want to listen to it whilst reading this post :))

I didn't know who Lars von Trier was; I didn't even really know what Melancholia meant. I'll be completely honest I only watched the film because Alexander Skarsgard was in it. I went into this film having no idea whatsoever as to what it was about.
The film begins with a very long slow motion sequence of the main characters in the film as the world around them dies. I remember thinking that this is strange, I knew from that moment that this wasn't going to be your typical 'blockbuster' movie. The film uses Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde as it's 'soundtrack'. From the moment we start, there is an overwhelming sensation of depression. Although they are moving they are stuck in their own ways, their own problems. After the slow moving sequence, we begin at the wedding reception of Justine.

We are introduced to many different aspects of 'normal' life. However Justine appears frustrated by these somewhat pointless matters and difficulties. I relate to her manner of thinking, I think that's why I (now) love this film so much. Although, I am thankful that I'm not to the state of thinking as she was. I would never act out my problems in such a way. It appears that she just wants to escape from this world of troubles that are in the grand scheme of things pointless. Throughout the first part of the film there are subtle hints of the impending doom for Earth. But they in no way over shadow what is important in this film; the characters state of mind. Justine notices a bright red start in the sky (Antares), but towards the end of the first part she notices it has disappeared. Another part I loved is when a frustrated Justine notices that her sisters study showcases various pages of books that feature modern art. In anger she replaces the modern art, with images of 'older' art. Including Ophelia by one of my favourite artists John Everett Millais. This is something I can strongly relate too. I didn't quite realise till now how much I myself relate to this character!

In Part 2 we see more of Justine's sister Claire. The severely depressed Justine is staying with Claire and her husband John in their estate. Claire takes on a maternal role for Justine whose melancholia has taken over every part of her.

The planet is called Melancholia in the film. I think it represents something that we all have in our minds, it is a natural realization that we fill our lives with pointless activity, ignoring what is truly beautiful in the world. It isn't comfortable to accept (as Claire shows) it's painful and scary.  The planet is thought to fly-by earth without impact. After realizing that this is false the true nature of how people think is shown. Justine appears to become more clear headed as the mortality of the earth is threatened.  I think this is because this is something real. For Justine this is real, not a pointless made up difficulty of humanities life. This is nature something which we cannot control. She can relate and accept this a lot more easily than her sister Claire, who prefers the comfortable nature of humanities life on earth.
Justine brings Claire and Claire's son to sit on the lawn by their estate and accept the impending doom. They sit together. Waiting. Justine seems almost at peace, whilst Claire seems to be far from the character we saw at the beginning of the film.

*spoiler alert* It is the last shot that has stuck with me. The planet looms closer to the earth. In a form of desperation Claire puts her hands to her ears and shudders at the moment of impact. Unsettling is a word that comes to mind.Then you are left, alone and yourself almost in a state of melancholia. I would argue that if you are not feeling like this at the end of the film then your mind just isn't quite ready to accept that which isn't comfortable.
That's nothing bad nor anything good. It just highlights the complexity of the mind. For me the film will always be a source of relief in the fact that I am not the only one who can mentally relate to this film.

I told my parents to watch the film, and they just didn't feel the same way a I did. It angered me, how can they not see what I see? Well I told myself, because not everyone is the same, and that is another beautiful fact about the human brain. It doesn't stop me from thinking, however, that I wish with all my heart that they and others could see what lies beyond their Facebook profile or the clouds in the polluted sky.

We can all learn something from the way we think and experience this world. Ask yourself uncomfortable questions, read unnerving scientific facts. At the end of your life, you are faced with the fact that your mind will never think again. As an active member of this Earth you will be no more. You have no say in it. I'm terrified of death, but in some strange way I find a form of clarity in accepting my pathlessness. I want to experience the truth. Not religion, but nature. That is the truth. Whatever you get from nature can be your truth. So with that thought I am finishing this post. Getting off my laptop and going outside because I don't want to be comfortable!

*I have read nothing more or researched into this film. All opinions are my own. But I have reignited an interest for this film so I'll be researching all night! :) After writing this I've realised that the film is my mind. Both sisters represent different sides of my mind. It all linked together more than I thought it would! Freaky! Sorry for going on too much! Over to the lovely Brikena from My Jars of Joy (make sure you follow her!

Hi Guys! I am so thrilled to be a guest blogger on Kerry’s Nerdy Habitat! I absolutely love
her blog and her eclectic style of writing, so, naturally, I am so excited to be a part of it! Our topic for today is: movie(s) and how it has changed the way we have thought about something. Now, even though I have been busy as of lately with studying and assignments for my masters, procrastination has had its advantage because I have watched a TON of movies also, ha! There are so many that I’ve loved but there was one that stuck to me so dearly. Maybe because of the moment or maybe because I got to relive my childhood a little but I have to say: Frozen was my movie of 2013. I know some of you agree with me (you’re awesome!) and some are just rolling your eyes at this post, and that’s okay; everyone is entitled to their own opinion. 

My sister is a good 13 years younger than I am and for two sisters with such a huge age gap, it is fascinating, even to me, as to how close we are with one another. When my brother and I moved out this year for college, my sister grew even more attached… she counts the days until we come visit and knows my next vacation days better than I do. So in order to make sure I take full advantage of the time I have with her, I let her plan out our sisterly bonding
days. This New Year’s, I really had no plans – and since my boyfriend was away visiting his family, I thought- why not stay home and spend a memorable night with my little sister rather than bar hopping with friends? I decided I’d surprise her with the movie Frozen because she’d been mentioning it all Christmas break long. She was ecstatic! So as I’m lying there with her, watching what would be one of my favorite Disney movies, I realized just how happy Disney movies made me feel as a kid… and how that hasn’t changed one bit even today, in my twenties… and I hope it will never change. I’m sure most of you know the storyline so I won’t get into it. 

Throughout the whole movie you see the bond of two sisters and how much they care for one another, and it was a heart-warming movie to watch together with my own little sister. What I thought was the most important part of the movie **spoiler alert** is that for once, Disney didn’t place love for a boy over that of a family member. The act of true love was between Anna and Elsa… not either of the guy characters. I believe it’s important that the children- heck, even grown-ups that are watching these movies understand that true love doesn’t only mean that between a man and a woman who fall in love. Before anyone of them is old enough to know and experience that kind of love… why not show our younger siblings the love they already have right in front of them? 

And Olaf – sweet, funny Olaf… need I say more?!

This is what I thought of the movie- but what did you think?

That's the end of this post! Hope you liked it. Please share any films that may have changed how you thought about something. 



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