The aesthetics of depression in the work of Lars von Trier. Ethical considerations on "Depression Trilogy"
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The following dissertation investigates whether Lars von Trier's film representations of depression go beyond medical and social conventions related to the illness, in order to underline the complex character of its suffering and causes. To contextualise cinematic depression, the first chapter offers a historical summary of movie portrayals of the illness against the backdrop of the social and medical fields. The main corpus explores the way the motif of depression transpires in von Trier's traumatic aesthetics to express the filmmaker's vision and ethical beliefs, with a special emphasis on his latest trilogy - Antichrist (2009), Melancholia (2011) and Nymphomaniac vol. I and vol. II (2013) - known as "Depression trilogy". The thesis' ethical inquiry unravels within the ethical frames established by essential theories that focus also on the viewers' possible reactions and attitudes regarding depression.