25 November 2011

Melancholia

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25 November: No, I’m not suffering from melancholia, but I just saw an interesting film by that name. I went into Bangkok, just for movies and books, for the first time in a long, long while.
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The express boats finally resumed service this week after a month off, and I got to see things at river level again. The river is brimming, and many locations along its banks are flooded badly. Riverside houses that have always seemed to be suffering foundation failure are now collapsing. Other houses are probably now doomed. Everywhere, huge pumps are trying to get water out of the neighborhoods and back into the river. As I’ve said before, it is astounding that so much water is flowing by.
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I almost missed the express boat. As I was walking toward the pier I looked ahead and saw the southbound boat coming in, and they wait for no one. Waiting for the next one would mean a 20 minute wait, so I ran an obstacle course around sidewalk vendors, children, homeless sojourners, and sleeping soi dogs. The boatswain had just thrown the cable from the pier’s peg back onto the boat and had piped to the pilot to go on, when I took a running leap to land on deck. (Love those sure-footed sports sandals.) This was much more exciting than waiting for another boat.
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The film Melancholia (2011) was a rather odd movie, two hours and ten minutes of strangeness. Oddness and strangeness are not necessarily bad. Written and directed by Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier, it starred Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, and some other good actors. I am not really recommending it, since most people will not like it, although a few might. I had wanted to see it for weeks, but the flooding kept me from getting to it. Afraid it would soon end its run in the one theater here that has been showing it, I made a point to come in and see it in a matinee.
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It is about two sisters who seldom ever get along, and now a huge planet named Melancholia is suddenly going to crash into and destroy Earth. During earlier “normal” times, Justine (Dunst) is crazy, dysfunctional, hurtful and disturbing, while her sister Claire (Gainsbourg) is stable and comforting. But watch how they each deal with the coming annihilation as it closes in. Great acting by two great actresses. My main criticism is the poor sound quality; in early scenes the whispered dialogue given by Charlotte Gainsbourg is inaudible; I will have to wait for a DVD with subtitles to find out what she said.
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-Zenwind.
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