Through an examination of the planetary disaster organizing Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia, this essay probes both the stakes of depicting the end of the world and the competency of those in the humanities to undertake such analysis. At bottom, the following draws on Jacques Derrida’s 1984 “No Apocalypse, Not Now (Full Speed Ahead, Seven Missiles, Seven Missives),” as well as more contemporary discussions of Melancholia, in order to accentuate the singularity of the film’s ending, the “necessary” fictional status of the total apocalypse, and the capacity of those who study the expansive literary archive to engage with “real-world” matters.
KeywordsApocalypse Jacques Derrida Cinema studies The humanities Melancholia Lars von Trier
- Blanchot, Maurice. 1986. The Writing of the Disaster. Trans. Ann Smock. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
- Derrida, Jacques. 1998. Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of ‘Religion’ at the Limits of Reason Alone. Trans. Samuel Weber. In Religion, eds. Jacques Derrida and Gianni Vattimo, 1–78. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- ———. 2007. No Apocalypse, Not Now (Full Speed Ahead, Seven Missiles, Seven Missives). Trans. Catherine Porter and Philip Lewis. In Psyche: Inventions of the Other I, eds. Peggy Kamuf and Elizabeth Rottenberg, 387–410. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- ———. 2010. Competent Fictions: On Belief in the Humanities (working paper).Google Scholar
- Shaviro, Steven. 2012. Melancholia, or, The Romantic Anti-Sublime. Sequence 1(1): 1–58. http://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/sequence/files/2012/12/MELANCHOLIA-or-The-Romantic-Anti-Sublime-SEQUENCE-1.1-2012-Steven-Shaviro.pdf. Accessed 27 Feb 2019.
- Szendy, Peter. 2015. Apocalypse-Cinema: 2012 and Other Ends of the World. Trans. Will Bishop. New York: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
- Von Trier, Lars. 2011. Director’s Statement. http://www.melancholiathemovie.com/#_directorsstatement. Accessed 20 July 2019.
- White, Rob, and Nina Power. 2012. Lars von Trier’s Melancholia: A Discussion. Film Quarterly. https://filmquarterly.org/2012/01/10/lars-von-triers-melancholia-a-discussion/. Accessed 27 Feb 2019.