Contrast And Compare: UK And US Trailers For Melancholia

Contrast and compare the UK and US trailers for Melancholia, Lars von Trier‘s imminent sci-fi melodrama.

First, a UK version from last week.


The cuts from Kirsten Dunst with electro fingers to her name and Cannes credential and then on to a crying scene both tries to sell the prestige and to convince that Dunst herself is prestigious.

They try the same thing in the much longer US edit, perhaps even going so far as to fetishise her in statuesque cruciform for a moment. Check it out.

You’ll have noticed that the US version starts with the misery and, if you will, melancholy, right off the bat. This sets an undercurrent for the wedding scenes that follow, a polar opposite of the dramatic techniques employed in the UK trailer. As I understand it, this is closer to the structure of the film proper which opens with the end of the world before going back to show us the end days of life in the shadow of impending destruction.

The US trailer also seems to be hawking the spectacle front and centre. This perhaps less directly related to the overall aesthetic of the full film.

There are definitely some episodes of great poised beauty in the picture, as demonstrated by the slow motion footage you can see throughout the trailers, but it’s in tiny proportion compared to the hand-held drama and performance-led sequences. This ratio doesn’t seem to be observed at all well in the US trailer, which also uses specific critic quotes to highlight the “spectacle.”

Anyhow – it’s Trier. He doesn’t make films that fit inside trailers. What’s more important, I suppose, is how attractive these trailers will be to their respective audiences. It’s all just bait, right?

The US trailer can be seen in HD at Yahoo.