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Politics, Theory, and FilmCritical Encounters with Lars von Trier$
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Bonnie Honig and Lori J. Marso

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190600181

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190600181.001.0001

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Melancholia and US

Melancholia and US

Chapter:
(p.413) 18 Melancholia and US
Source:
Politics, Theory, and Film
Author(s):

William E. Connolly

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190600181.003.0019

This chapter further explores the themes of attachment in Melancholia. This film dramatizes a sense that humanity matters immensely, chastising the antihumanist impulse of some recent theory, while also showing, however, the extent of its influence. Von Trier, the chapter argues, lets our attachment to the world soak into our pores. That attachment is made up of experiences of joy and loss, memories of which still constitute us in the present, make us who we are, and yet are not in our control. The cultural world can be filled with ideologies that ridicule folding a sense of the fragility of this attachment into parochial interests, identifications, and a sense of responsibility. The film challenges these ideologies, even suggesting that the sensitivities wired into the affliction of melancholia sometimes help the one suffering it to come to terms with those attachments.

Keywords:   Melancholia, antihumanist theories, attachment, humanity, melancholia as condition, cultural ideologies, human memories, human experiences

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