Melancholia

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Delta Ponds footbridge

The only thing more embarrassing than crying in a movie theatre is crying in a movie theatre when no one else is. The fact that the movie was over and I was sobbing in the wet parking lot as silent audience members streamed out the exit only added to the humiliation.

My friend Lily and I had just seen Melancholia, an apocalyptic flick that’s playing this week at the Bijou. When I say apocalyptic, I mean that it wasn’t pulling any punches. The world was really, really going to explode and everyone had to deal with it.

This would all be good fun in a summer blockbuster, but this movie stars Kirsten Dunst a la The Virgin Suicides rather than Spider-Man.

Dunst and her co-stars plod around a mansion looking depressed and disheveled as a planet called Melancholia spins dangerously close to our own. Dread turns to panic and/or psychotic euphoria (if you’re Kirsten, who lies naked in the blue light of the Melancholia-rise) as everyone realizes that their lives will soon end. And then they die.

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Lily was a bit worried about my ability to drive after the breakdown (which also included the kind of hysterical laughing that ends in shuddering sniffs), but I held it together enough on the way home to spot some apocalyptic art.

Who could guess the new footbridge over the Delta Highway would look so much like a Bridge of Death? Can’t you see Darth Vader or the Grim Reaper (or both) strolling across it with arms outstretched? The red neon lights were a risky choice, but boy did they pay off in the drama department.

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Lee Imonen, Bountiful

At one end of the bridge sits “Bountiful,” which is also unintentionally creepy. The empty net thing, which is supposed to represent the Native American bounty, sways and creeks in the wind. It’s as though an invisible beast is caught in there, or passing nightmares are whistling through on their way to peoples’ heads.

Keep in mind that these impressions were gathered around midnight, with Melancholia still hanging in my mind’s sky. After the movie and before my Bridge of Death moment, Lily and I lounged at Oak Street Brewery and tried to work out a game plan in case, you know, the movie was actually real.

“I would think that everyone who had nukes would just blast it, and then we’d all try to take cover from the debris,” I said anxiously.

Lily smiled. “I think what the one lady did was pretty accurate. She just drove around in her golf cart, trying to get somewhere even though it was pointless,” she said.

I sighed, knowing it was the truth. Those who cry in parking lots don’t have the stomach for nukes.

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