Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lars Von (Very) Trying

IT WAS dinner and a movie last night with the Rufous Bird, whose turn it was to pick the flick. Trouble there and right away. The Professor would have favoured something light and amusing, but there would be none of that, as the Bird had been chirping away with her arty pals about the movie everyone just has to see. It turned out be something called Melancholia, which begins at a nut job’s wedding and ends almost three hours later with three people sitting under a pyramid of sticks and waiting for the world to end, which it does and not before time.

The one consolation is that the director, Lars Von Trier, can frame an arresting image, although the relevance of horses sagging on the lawn or the bride’s gown-up antics in a golf course bunker with a wedding guest other than her new husband must remain a matter for conjecture. The golf course, which appeared to be in great nick, figures only incidentally in what passes for a plot, and that was another of the film’s great deficiencies. Shot from the air, one of the holes appeared to present the challenge of a long drive with a second-stroke dogleg to the left, followed by a higher-loft club’s mortar bomb to a tight green ringed by woods. As the rest of the film made no sense at all, the missed opportunity to place Charlotte Rampling on the tee and examine her swing was par for the course, so to speak.

The highlight came a little after the film’s mid-point, when the couple in front walked out. The word “wanker” was overheard as they made their exit, which was re-assuring. Less so was the Bird’s friend, who has just interrupted breakfast with a call to find out how much she really, really enjoyed it.

Would it surprise anyone to learn that the friend works for the ABC?

Oh, and one more thing, Von Trier really is an idiot, which probably explains why Fairfax reviewer Clem Bastow gave the flick five stars. Fools, they stick together.


  1. You might enjoy David & Margaret's divided discussion of that film. David tends to be less BS tolerant than Marge so you can guess where he stood.

  2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.December 17, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    Professor, how pleasing to hear that your imaginative capacities have not let you down in what must have been a true test of character: a gentleman always tries to please his squeeze no matter what arty nonsense she drags him to. A gentleman I know extends his sympathies, while you have extended your knowledge of golf courses and their possibilities. A great outcome.

  3. One tries to be a gentleman, Lizzie, and not spoil the fun of others. In any case, there is usually a pony (or the sustaining hope such) in any room full of manure. Some years ago there was a dreadful movie about Sylvia Plath, who took the only option available to anyone married to Ted Hughes and topped herself. A stinker of a flick, it was made bearable by the incidental presence of many fine English cars from the Forties, Fifties and early Sixties -- Rovers, Austins, the Mark I Zephyr, boxy little Triumph Heralds, even a Riley. Had managed to include a Triumph Mayflower it would have been worth sitting through twice.

  4. Hold out for this:


  5. Geez Prof only someone who never owned one of those pieces of junk or even worse,had to work on one,could describe them as "fine".

  6. Anonymous: Well, yes, "fine" is a very subjective appraisal, but for those who appreciate britmobiles' odd little ways -- the unexpected whitworth threads to be found in old Land Rovers, for instance -- they remain a source of joy. Perverse joy, true, but joy all the same.

  7. In my experience, it is rare but not impossible to wish to un-watch or un-read something because it is so unpleasant.

    Such was my response to Lars Von Trier's "Breaking the Waves".

    I shook my head leaving the cinema, wondering what sort of sick person could make such a film.

    Surprisingly, it launched the career of Emily Watson and has an interesting soundtrack (Bowie, Deep Purple, Roxy Music, Jethro Tull).

  8. Indeed, spying a Mayflower would be most welcome. Generally the closest one gets is a Renown, or Bergerac's roadster! Having owned a succession of Mayflowers long ago, I enjoyed their simplicity, and the ease with which one could remove the engine for maintenance!