Structures of Depressive Experience in Lars von Trier’s Antichrist and Melancholia
Angela Woods
Philosophy Department Seminar – Thursday 1 March
Room 005, 48/49 Old Elvet, Durham.
Refreshments will be served from 11am with the talk commencing  at 11.30am.

Lars von Trier is variously regarded as one of Europe’s most provocative and most brilliant filmmakers. This paper offers a close comparative reading of his two most recent films, Antichrist (2009) and Melancholia (2011). Although von Trier has been open in discussing the films’ relationship to his own experiences of severe depression, I do not propose to read either text as psychobiography or catharsis, or to assess their fidelity to standard clinical accounts of psychic suffering. Instead, drawing on the work of contemporary phenomenological and psychoanalytic philosophers, I will discuss the exploration of grief, self-loathing, anxiety, erotic agitation, loss, extreme lethargy, despair and cruelty in Antichrist and Melancholia, arguing that that these films together constitute a highly sophisticated study in the lived experience of depression.


Frank Buchannon · April 5, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Hello! Can you please e-mail this paper at I would greatly appreciate it. I’ve recently became a big Lars Von Trier fan, while also obtaining my bachelor degree in psychology now with the possibility of studying it in graduate school or philosophy. Your paper aligns with several of my personal research interests, so I should gain interesting information from it. Thanks in advance.

    Angela Woods · April 15, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Hi Frank. Thanks so much for your interest in the paper, and my apologies it’s taken so long to get back to you! Unfortunately it’s still not really in a state to be circulated as it’s a series of notes for the presentation rather than a proper article. However, I’m working on this and will definitely be in touch when a full draft is ready. I hope your research and reading in the area is going well…

    all very best, Angela

Pete · September 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Hi angela, is this paper available now? Thank you

    Centre for Medical Humanities · September 23, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Hi Pete. Thanks for your interest, but unfortunately it’s still in development. Stay tuned for further updates!

Anna Lapic · April 7, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Hello, are there any updates? ) Interested too!

shirin · April 14, 2014 at 6:07 pm

hi, i am very much interested in your paper. it is very close to the paper that i am working on at present.please do send your paper to all of us. i tumbled on von trier by mistake. I am watching his movies after having read on ecriture feminine, specifically on cixous, irigaray and other french structuralist feminists using psychological parameters to address womanhood .it amazing to make many links to what these feminists said in the 70s to what von trier had shown in his movies. looking forward to see your argument.

ANTICHRIST « Written in Blood · May 7, 2012 at 9:28 pm

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