Journal Article

Hypnotic Ecology: Environmental Melancholia in Lars von Trier’s Films

Publication

Abstract

This article examines Lars von Trier’s The Element of Crime (1984), Antichrist (2009) and Melancholia (2011) from the perspective of ecological theories that seek to go beyond the green ecological paradigm. The three films depict the environment as fraught with a sense of unease, bound up with a melancholia that may be caused by either too little or too much intimacy with the nonhuman. The article shows that Trier’s despair and irony, anchored in a modernist distrust of reason, may be attuned to the conditions of the Anthropocene. Examining Trier’s allusions to premodern forms of knowledge reveals that his depictions of hypnosis and depression evoke privileged forms of knowledge that extend the environmental disaster to cosmic proportions. Turning to notions of dark ecology, the article argues that Trier’s black sensibility holds the seeds of a positive ecological awareness of interconnectedness and interdependence of humans with the surrounding world.

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Details

  • Type:
    Journal Article (peer reviewed)
  • Journal:
    Journal of Scandinavian Cinema, Vol 8, Issue 2.
  • Pages:
    135-148
  • Published:
    2018
  • Language:
    English

About the Author

Kristoffer Noheden

Kristoffer Noheden is a researcher in cinema studies at the Department of Media Studies. He holds a PhD in cinema studies from Stockholm University, and an MA in film studies and a BA in cultural studies from the University of Gothenburg. From Oct... Read more

Reference

Noheden, K. (2018). Hypnotic Ecology: Environmental Melancholia in Lars von Trier’s Films. Journal of Scandinavian Cinema, 8(2), pp. 135-148.