This part of the film is dedicated to Claire played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, who can only now be described as a Lars stalwart after that performance in Antichrist. Taking place after an undisclosed amount of time since the wedding, we bear witness to the changes that have occurred – perhaps most importantly the announcement of Melancholia, a newly-discovered planet which is rumoured to be heading directly for earth. A bizarre concept, but one that is tackled head on by all involved upholding rationality until the intentionally predictable climax; Kiefer Sutherland’s scientist husband is convinced the planet is simply going to pass by, viewing the entire debacle as a ground-breaking experience. But an unspoken worry looms. Retrospectively, there is some difficulty when attempting to highlight what Von Trier is exactly commenting on - if whether Melancholia has a deeper symbolism (the auteur conceived the idea during a spell of depression, an idea relevant to the film). But as the film reaches its inevitable endpoint, if you are still trying to piece together what you think is going on, it’s fearful you may have missed the mark completely. This is science fiction with technicalities ignored. It doesn’t matter why the world is coming to an end, it just matters that it will come to an end.
Love it or hate it (it will either be one or the other), prepare to marvel at the wonderment Von Trier has achieved. Even if a non-converted, it will undoubtedly be a struggle not to become impressed with what has been achieved on a visual and humane level. Just don’t search for anything too subliminal.