Apocalypse Then and Now: Verdens Undergang (1916) and Melancholia (2011)

Mark B. Sandberg 1
  • 1 6303 Dwinelle Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-2670
Mark B. Sandberg

Abstract

A comparison of two films about the end of the world by astronomical collision, Verdens Undergang (1916) and Melancholia (2011), reveals crucial differences in their structuring of apocalyptic time. Although similar moments of cultural impasse (World War I and the present moment) can partly explain the appeal of an apocalyptic narrative in each case, the pleasures of von Trier’s film do not come from the compensatory sense of ordered time and moral clarity that end-of-the-world scenarios typically afford. Instead, Melancholia explores the paradoxes of post-apocalyptic perception, not from a position of true survival or social regeneration, but as a vestigial fictional space that persists even beyond the supposed total obliteration of life.

  • Baltzersen, Jan 2005: “Denmark and Southern Jutland during the First World War.” In: http://dendigitalebyport.byhistorie.dk/monumenter/artikel.aspx?xid=denmark_and_southern_jutland [25. 04. 2015].

  • Berger, James 1999: After the End. Representations of Post-Apocalypse. Minneapolis.

  • “Comet to Cross Sun’s Face Tomorrow.” 1910. In: The San Francisco Chronicle. May 17.

  • “Comet Will Just Miss Earth.” 1909. In: The Washington Post. October 10.

  • “Comet’s Poisonous Tail.” 1910. In: New York Times. February 7.

  • Denig, Lynde 1916: “The End of the World.” In: The Moving Picture World. May 20, 1916. 1353–54.

  • Fisher, Mark 2009: Capitalist Realism. Is There No Alternative? Winchester.

  • Horn, Eva 2014: Zukunft als Katastrophe. Frankfurt am Main.

  • Kermode, Frank 2000. The Sense of an Ending. Studies in the Theory of Fiction with a New Epilogue. Oxford.

  • Køhl, Torvald 1910: “Halleys Komet.” In: Illustreret Tidende 51.18. 226–27.

  • “Melancholia: Goofs.” In: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1527186/trivia?tab=gf&ref_=tt_trv_gf [29. 4. 2015].

  • O’Hehir, Andrew 2011: “Pick of the week: Lars von Trier’s spectacular Melancholia” In: http://www.salon.com/2011/11/11/pick_of_the_week_lars_von_triers_spectacular_melancholia/ [02. 05. 2015].

  • Read, Rupert 2104: “An Allegory of a ‘Therapeutic’ Reading of a Film: Of Melancholia.” In: Sequence 1.2 [http://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/sequence1/1-2-an-allegory-of-a-therapeutic-reading/] [30. 04. 2015].

  • Rodriguez, Rene 2011: “Melancholia.” In: Miami Herald. 16.11.

  • Rosen, Elizabeth K. 2008: Apocalyptic Transformation. Apocalypse and the Postmodern Imagination. Lanham.

  • Shaviro, Steven 2012: “Melancholia, or The Romantic Anti-Sublime.” In: Sequence [http://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/sequence1/1-1-melancholia-or-the-romantic-anti-sublime/] [30. 04. 2015].

  • Szendy, Peter 2012: L’apocalypse-cinéma: 2012 et autres fin du monde. Nantes.

  • Thew, Harvey F. 1916: “The End of the World.” In: Motion Picture News. May 20. 3093.

  • Von Trier, Lars, dir. [2011]: Melancholia. DVD. Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2012.

  • Blom, August, dir. [1916]: Verdens Undergang. DVD. The Danish Film Institute, 2006.

Purchase article
Get instant unlimited access to the article.
$42.00
Log in
Already have access? Please log in.


Journal + Issues

The journal’s content reflects the international spectrum of Scandinavian studies with the subareas of modern literature and cultural studies (including media studies), medieval studies and linguistics. The journal adresses scholars of literature and linguistics as well as scholars of comparative literature interested in this field.

Search