Tag: melancholia

Melancholia

Tastes are becoming serious again, prompting a return to deeper subject matter. If I were to track trends, I might find seasonal patterns to my viewing habits, with stagnant heat and humidity characterizing the last few months, and too much time indoors during what for many is the most outdoorsy and playful time of year. Our puppy’s separation anxiety has been a challenge too, leaving openings for only short jaunts away from home.

[spoilers – Melancholia]

After years of initial recommendation, I settled in to watch the film Melancholia last night. Intrigued by the premise of the world’s end, which many of us seem to be thinking a lot about, and by questions at the film’s center sparked by the maker’s history with depression, I finally decided to give in.

Sure enough, I came away with a feeling of relief, even lightheartedness–not because the film was a happy one–but because the main character’s behavior made sense. Her sense of validation and rescue from being “the crazy one” in the middle of more seemingly well-adjusted people, read like an other side looking back kind of work… a bit of a ghost story.

I watched the film Hannah Arendt before that, which I’m sure affected impressions, contemplating the nature of evil and the world. One line I especially appreciated, when she was confronted by a dear friend who could no longer accept her after she suggested the Holocaust could not have been so orderly without cooperation from some Jewish leaders. I’m not qualified to comment on that, because even after significant study, it still falls under the category of “no way to know” for me. What I imagine is that people had all sorts of coping mechanisms and ways they felt sure they had to contort themselves and others to get by. And that so many did not get by, remains the bottom line.

But the sentence, that was actually a paper excerpt historically, is, “I don’t love any people (on the whole, as a group); I love my friends.”

She was writing from a broad perspective, truly trying to understand what had happened, not being controversial for fame’s sake. The film did a good job of showing her situatedness as a scholar as the identity she was most faithful to, and a good job in showing the reasons why even a close friend could not abide her position. Why it was also right not to.

That choice cost her a lot and somewhat overshadowed the truly profound main point that she made about Adolf Eichmann’s lack of thinking and obedience to orders being more effective in carrying out evil than maniacal power lust. Bureaucracy and the “banality of evil.”

The films fit together well.