Planet Melancholia: romanticism, mood, and cinematic ethics

Robert Sinnerbrink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Lars von Trier's Melancholia offers a fascinating exploration of cinematic romanticism and the aesthetics of cinematic moods. It presents a devastating portrait of melancholia, dramatizing the main character Justine's [Kirsten Dunst's] experience of a catastrophic "loss of world" that finds its objective correlative in a sublime cinematic fantasy of world-annihilation. In this article, I analyse some of the aesthetic and philosophical strands of Melancholia, exploring in particular its use of romanticism and presentation of cinematic mood. Von Trier explores not only the aesthetics of melancholia but its ethical dimensions, creating an art disaster movie whose sublime depiction of world-destruction has the paradoxical effect of revealing the fragility and finitude of life on Earth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-113
Number of pages19
JournalFilozofski Vestnik
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Film aesthetics
  • Film-philosophy
  • Melancholia
  • Mood
  • Von Trier

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