Ciências References Management System

Visitor Mode (Login)
Need help?


Publication details

Document type
Book chapters

Gothic-Romantic Ecocentric Landscapes in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia

Participants in the publication
Graça P. Corrêa (Author)
Dep. História e Filosofia das Ciências
CFCUL - Centro de Filosofia das Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa


A sense of impending global catastrophe and a critique of anthropocentric progress mark Lars Von Trier latest film, Melancholia (2011). At the light of Gothic-Romantic theory and aesthetics, as well as of recent ecocritical approaches to film, this paper explores the spatial settings and sensory landscapes of von Trier’s work. The feeling of melancholy was\\nparticularly present in Gothic-Romantic literature, fine arts, music, and philosophy. Originating as a reflection on the inadequacy of logical and discursive knowledge in a larger-than-human world, melancholy fuses the experience of a heightened self-consciousness with the quality of a pessimistic gloomy feeling. Gothic-Romantic aspects of Melancholia’s cinematic landscapes include its settings (a castle with vast surrounding gardens); the use of the motif of the double in its characterization (two sisters: one light, one dark); its hyper-subjectivity, apparent not only in the unsteady handheld camerawork but also in the overstated quality of its sound; its manifestly Romantic soundtrack (Wagner’s overture of Tristan und Isolde); its melodramatic structure; its Pre-Raphaelite visual tableaux; its dystopian depiction of civilizational collapse in the intimate scope of family relationships; and its suggestion of the sublime (contradictory emotions of pleasure and fear) through supernatural phenomena. By invoking a Gothic-Romantic aesthetics, Melancholia equally summons its pessimistic (albeit vitalist) philosophy, exposing the limitations of an anthropocentric civilization and the fragility of its normative human bonds.

Edições Cine-Clube

Date of Publication

Where published
Avanca Cinema 2012 International Conference

Publication Identifiers
ISBN - 9789899685826

Avanca, Portugal

Edições Cine-Clube

Starting page
Last page

Document Identifiers
ISBN - 978-989-96858-2-6

Ecocentric Landscapes Ecocriticism Julia Kristeva Neo-Platonism Philosophy in Film


Graça P. Corrêa, (2012). Gothic-Romantic Ecocentric Landscapes in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia. Avanca Cinema 2012 International Conference, 180-197

Graça P. Corrêa, "Gothic-Romantic Ecocentric Landscapes in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia" in Avanca Cinema 2012 International Conference, 2012, pp. 180-197

@incollection{48215, author = {Graça P. Corrêa}, title = {Gothic-Romantic Ecocentric Landscapes in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia}, booktitle = {Avanca Cinema 2012 International Conference}, year = 2012, pages = {180-197}, address = {Avanca, Portugal}, publisher = {} }