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Monday, 31 October 2011

Melancholia and the existential crossroad

Went to see Trier's Melancholia again last night with my friends Monica Udler, Lorraine de Fatima and Julio Cabrera. I wanted to see some details again, like the exact moment where Claire starts moving her arms in the last scene and the way Justine initiates things, including the plan that leads to the last scene. Julio thought the flick was about the ontological difference. Justine, to whom nothing happens, is like the being whereas Claire is all involved with the ontic. Leo, on the other hand, is like co-belonging, as he closes his eyes and feels protected not by the right shield but by the atmosphere of a cocoon. Monica sees the Dasein in Claire and points out how John is the one mixed with the varieties of the beings. To be sure, things do happen to Justine, she goes through phases of letting go: the abandonment of things, the abandonment of self and then some sort of emergence of care. Maybe those are ontological events that contrast with what happens to John and Claire. Interestingly, if we think in terms of intensities, the trajectories of the characters are different - and they react differently to the way their path collides with the others. Those different trajectories facing the imminence of Melancholia (or of nothingness) include those of the horses, the air, the grass.

These are maybe different ways of negating (or relating to a nothingness) as there are many ways to exist. I thought of the expression Souriau uses when he talks about surexistence: un carrefour existentiel. It is not about an ontological common factor (say, existence or, rather, the nothingness) but the modes of existence are irreducible to a common element and yet they are in a crossroad where each bump into each other. The relation between what exists and existence (or between being and the beings) is an external relation - they happen to be in a crossroad, not that they have a relation to maximal common denominator of existence that would make them disappear without it. Each thing exists as such, as a mode of existence that relates to surexistence in the way people bump into others in the street. A plane and not a plan: an issue of immanence.

Then, even in the imminence of the end of everything, the responses are wild open. The open doesn't require any amount of time. Claire couldn't think beyond her ritualistic plan of sipping wine and listening to music. This is at the same time the ultimate loneliness of beings and their self-standing glory: they don't carry in themselves the common seed of existence, they don't carry any common seed at all - they only carry themselves.

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