An eight-hour meditation on the maddening persistence of sadness in this world, divided into three parts following a prostitute, a pimp and a nun who wander the countryside.
An untold number of persons have disappeared in the Philippines over the years, before, during and after the Marcos dictatorship. Melancholia is devoted to the grief and search for meaning over such disappearances, told across a vivid array of Philippine society.
Infuriatingly protracted in some longer than needed episodes, Diaz's melancholic saga offers a unique perpsective on how reality (from the individual self and personal mourning to the collective loss) reveals itself in long static shots. These tesify to the directors' gifts mainly in exterior shots in the jungle or elsewhere. His sense for aural scultpure creates a palpable world of mundane despair and identity loss.
I am pleased I do not have to unpack this thing for you in detail, because I spend a lot of my time w/ these Diaz pics cocooned in a trance-state. Got briefly lost 'round hour six. So, Evolution of a Filipino Family was about national identity, this one is about personal identity. Personal identity swathed in metaphysics. Really, really made me think of doing mescaline. The noise band is delightful and very awful.
I think this one is far more challenging and needs more patience than other films by Lav Diaz I've seen up to now. The idea of sadness/melancholy as impuls and reason for every human expression, activity and art leads us into the heart of his poetics but also into the center of his politcal thinking. He creates some powerful as well as intimate sequences to underline this statement.
I think I fell asleep literally when the first credit appeared, woke maybe 10 minutes later. Went to take my contacts out, and when I couldn't grasp anything I started gouging at my eyeballs, pinching harder and harder to pull something out, scraping the surface of my eyes. Only after both of my eyes were blood red did I realize I had been wearing glasses the entire time. There was nothing there in my eyes to find.
This is a time for becoming instead of being. Cinema is the perfect buffer zone for our psychologies. Melancholia helped me resolve issues by taking me to their doorstep confronted with the evil in me and able to step inside more so than any drug or psychotherapy I understood my better self until the ending reminding me that Melancholia isn't just a passing feeling it's embedded in the walls, and inside our country.