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Old 12-01-18, 10:45 PM
MindBlind MindBlind is offline
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Melancholia and Justineís plight

I was thinking about that Lars Von Trier Film ĎMelancholiaí and how audiences at the time reacted to it. I used to work in a cinema so I often heard people (audiences and colleagues) express their frustration with the main character, Justine, saying that she was selfish and spoiled and horrible to her family. I assumed that she was written to be an insufferable ***** so I didnít have high hopes going into the film (the tickets were free anyway so itís not really loss if I didnít like it).

I did walk out of the film, but not because it was bad. It was because the first act hit very close to home for me and it hurt. I could empathise with her pain, how she tried to hold it all together for the wedding. Nobody actually seemed to care that she was in pain - they all pestered her and berated her for not being happy enough and not giving a good enough performance. The whole wedding was less about her and more about the people around her. I was so angry because all she was doing was trying to keep it together and just make everyone happy, but itís never good enough. I had to leave the theatre at the start of the second act because it was just too overwhelming how much I could relate to that.

The worst part was knowing what other people really thought about depression. When people were saying that Justine was selfish and spoiled, they were tacitly admitting what they really thought about depression. I felt so alone knowing that people close to me would feel this way about me or anyone else who was like Justine.

Iím not a huge fan of Lars Von Trier (I think heís very overrated if Iím honest) but that film had a big effect on me. It seemed to be a kind of Rorschach test for whether people actually understand mental illness.

I donít really know why itís been bothering me now. I guess itís because I resent the platitude that ďyou are not aloneĒ. I just think itís such an arrogant, presumptuous statement. Yes, other people have depression and experience similar symptoms, but depression is a lonely experience. You feel distant from the rest of the world and the rest of the world will go about itís business with or without you. You have to pretend that youíre like everyone else and fit in because itís the only way to survive. You might be physically taking part, but you canít truly participate and feel connected to the world and the people around you. You cannot tell people that they arenít alone because nobody else is in their head but them. I donít want to be told that Iím not alone and that everything will be okay - I just want another human being to acknowledge that I am in pain and to have the ******* decency to be even remotely compassionate. But people wonít do it because it makes them uncomfortable and so I pretend to be happy to make it less awkward.

I know Iím generalising, but I donít think it should be that hard just to be kind to someone who is suffering.
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