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Melancholie der Engel - Shock DVD Entertainment Print E-mail
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Written by Ray Casta   
Monday, 11 April 2011
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Melancholie der Engel Cover Artwork on Severed Cinema
 

AKA: The Angels' Melancholy, The Angels' Melancholia

Directed by: Marian Dora
Written by: Marian Dora, Frank Oliver
Produced by: Georg Treml
Cinematography by: Samuel Dalferth
Music by: Marian Dora
Cast: Zensa Raggi, Frank Oliver, Pietro Martellanza, Janette Weller
Year: 2009
Country: Germany
Language: German
Color: Color
Runtime: 2 h 45 min

Distributor: Shock DVD Entertainment

The follow-up to the 2006 "Cannibal," Marian Dora's "Melancholie der Engel" -- translated in English as "The Angels' Melancholy" -- is the most notorious, undeniably hardcore German release to date.  Clocking over 2 hours of length, the film is an epic portrait of pain and suffering.  An ultimate personification of pure evil, the visuals suggest an illustration of man's inhumanity to man.  I must admit I viewed the film without English subtitles, as its German release is the only version currently available.  Without subtitles, it is fairly difficult to gauge a clear understanding of the "plot."  As of now, there is no way to know if the dialogue is pretentious and filled with pseudo-intellectual nonsense or not.  Although the film is flawed and maddeningly frustrating, it at least gives the sense of an overarching 'theme,' culminating in a full "cycle" of life pain vs. pleasure and life and death.

The film opens to a pregnant woman.  Her hands are tied over her head, and the film intercuts with images of a salamander in nature back to the helpless woman being terrorized by an unknown assailant.  There is a random image of roadkill, strewn along a desolate, quiet road.  When the camera zooms away, a vehicle drives down the road and splatters the animal.  Opening credits are essentially a surreal, strange montage.  The film establishes itself by introducing a bearded man, dressed in white.  A bald man, dressed in black, is the bearded man's "pupil", and the film shows their close relationship with one and other, in a scene where they meet up and embrace each other.  They meet two women at a carnival and eventually bring them back to a house in the woods; a haven for sex, drug use, torture, violence, and fantasy.

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Dead animals and dolls decorate the house, which is a den of decay and ruin.  Other characters are introduced, such as a domineering woman, a creepy Old Man and a wheelchair-bound woman.  We get a sense the evil characters are pseudo philosophers of sorts mastering in the art of pain.  They are infatuated with violence and death and its striking correlation to sex.  The victims are sacrificial, not unlike certain "animals."  This gathering of characters is a collection of extreme ideas, fetishes and rituals.  Sex and death is explored to great length and we learn how "pain" for one person may equal to "pleasure" to another.  There is a striking religious theme in the film, too.  Later in the film, a nun is introduced, and she fits into the good vs. evil subtext of Marian Dora's vision.  She wants to pleasure herself and ultimately gives into "temptation", but it is a very forbidden thing.  We are reminded of the bald character's clash with himself, and his second-guessing.  Did he make the right decision, or is he too late?  Has he reached the point of no return?

Visually, "Melancholie der Engel" is nightmarish.  Wider in scope than "Cannibal," the same hazy, blurred look of Marian Dora's previous film is implemented here.  The imagery is particularly haunting, and the cinematography suggests a lyrical quality, at times.  Frames will surely stick in your mind, like it or not.  Camerawork is fairly impressive, as it glides along and pans at the right moment, gets in extremely close at times, and establishes its atmosphere effectively.  There is a superbly shot montage late in the film, where we witness a pig getting slaughtered, as one of the characters (the bearded man) rapes a girl from behind and the nun masturbating on an altar.  This is a stunning sequence.  Aside from the opening credits, the music can be pretty annoying.  The overall length of the film is a chore, and its pace can be laborious and dull.  It seemed so long at times, I thought it was longer than its runtime.

What makes "Melancholie der Engel" so incredibly frustrating is its usage of the animals.  Throughout the film, there are numerous depictions of different types of animals being killed.  From the visuals, the animals seem to fit into the theme of nature, and the film contrasts animals with the human characters -- the victims.  Juxtaposed with animals in nature, the film makes a statement that its victims are useless creatures -- almost like they are lambs to the slaughter -- and how we are insignificant to the Earth.  In no way do I advocate animal cruelty.  Animal cruelty is something I personally loathe, and I dislike how movies sometimes use them only to kill them on screen.  There is a sequence in "Melancholie Der Engel," which depicts a pig being slaughtered (the process looks 100% professional), a worm, salamander and a cat being killed.  Whether the scenes of animal cruelty are "staged" or "real," I do not know for myself.  I have heard conflicting stories.  One story, I have heard the director enjoys to torture animals.  Another source informed me the accusations are completely untrue.  It is sad to imagine animals being killed for a film.  Marian Dora would surely be brought to trial, if true.  This would certainly be a scandal in Germany, wouldn't it?

Filled with unspeakable atrocities, "Melancholie der Engel" is completely devoid of morality.  It is a depraved, perverse and nihilistic endurance test.  Readers be warned: I am not joking when I say this film is extremely graphic stuff.  Rape, pissing, shitting, dead animals, disembowelment, paraphilia, fetishes, enema, a colostomy bag ripped out and the hole subsequently fingered, knife rape, etc.  The list goes on.  The animal stuff will turn off a majority of viewers, and many will hate the movie based on that alone.  There is a killing of a cat that seems real.  It is given a drug and its throat gets viciously slit.  It twitches and it eventually dies.  The animals contrasted with humans is a strong theme, but it becomes far too repetitive and unnecessarily.  With the tedious pace and length of the film, the repetition is somewhat detrimental.

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

There is some symbolism in the movie (self-reflection, religion, animals/humanity, etc) people will dismiss, and that's perfectly fine.  This film is understandably tough to stomach.  It's extraordinarily tough to handle.  Quite frankly, it's a chore to get through.  It's flawed, it's overlong and it's deplorable in many ways.  I hate animal cruelty, and it's heartbreaking to think they'd be killed for art.  If animals were killed in the making of the movie, I'd feel a certain way towards Marian Dora.  I, however, cannot dismiss the consummate visual strength of "Melancholie der Engel," and the themes buried under its macabre smorgasbord of death and decay.

Shock DVD Entertainment presents "Melancholie der Engel" in a Special Collector's Edition DVD.  There are four brief deleted scenes from the movie -- none of them stand out, and they deserved to be cut from the final product.  A feature called "Blue Snuff" includes three shorts shot by Marian Dora.  The more hardcore viewers will appreciate the twisted nature of these shorts.  One of them is called "Fruhling," which shows a full autopsy.  It looks real, which is not so far-fetched considering Marian Dora is also an M.D.  "Subcrimitero" is a short (near 6 minutes) that brings us inside a graveyard, showing various decayed corpses.  The last is called, "Erotic Fantasy."  Perhaps the most well shot, this short shows a woman being bound on a bed accompanied by a bunch of candles.  With a plastic bag over her head, she gets wax poured on her, burnt, she pisses herself, and animals pleasure her.  She also gets her nipple sliced, in graphic fashion.  Most likely, "Melancholie der Engel" is not a film I'd watch again.  The DVD, however, will appeal to those seeking out some extreme German shock cinema.

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed CinemaMelancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

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Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Melancholie der Engel Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

 RATING:
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 AUDIO: 1 
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 DVD: 1 
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 MOVIE: 1 
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 DVD SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1, 16x9 Widescreen
 Region: Region 2 PAL
 Audio: German Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0


 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 - "Blue Snuff" (3 Marian Dora Shorts)
 - Gallery
 - Deleted Scenes
 - Music


Comments
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David  - Couch Cutter     |71.56.9.xxx |2011-04-11 23:34:32
Is this movie available in the states??
Chris Mayo  - RE: Couch Cutter     |SAdministrator |2011-04-12 00:12:55
Not currently no. You can get it from Amazon.de though.
David     |71.56.9.xxx |2011-04-12 00:57:52
English subs by any chance?
Chris Mayo     |SAdministrator |2011-12-08 08:32:43
Apparently a subtitled version gets a release next year. Don't know the details,
but that's what I heard from the grapevine. It was subtitled for the BUT Film
Festival...
BOBBY MALLICK  - A SERBIAN FILM VS MELANCHOLIE DER ENGEL   |69.124.203.xxx |2013-02-01 01:13:44
DEAR CHRIS MAYO HOW ARE YOU DOING BECAUSE IAM DOING JUST GREAT MY FRIEND. CHRIS
MAYO MY FRIEND, I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD TELL ME WHICH FILM IS MORE
DEPRAVING (A SERBIAN FILM) OR (MELANCHOLIE DER ENGEL). CHRIS MAYO WHICH FILM HAD
A MORE DEPRAVING (BABY KILLING) SCENE (A SERBIAN FILM) OR (MELANCHOLIE DER
ENGEL)
Anonymous   |78.53.160.xxx |2013-06-03 08:38:07
serbian film had more depraving baby killing scene.
Anonymous   |78.53.160.xxx |2013-06-03 08:43:29
i watched this movie. sick, filthy and disgusting. i will never watch it again.
i watched it out of curiosity. Is Marian Dora really like this? Has he seen
things like this in real life.? Has he killed animals and birds and reptiles
too.? The only person i pitied in the whole movie was the handicapped girl. She
couldnt run. The other two girls could have escaped. But they didnt ..! So i
pity the handicap girl. If Marian dora is really like this.. then hope he
suffers miserably each day of his life. Horrible.
Smithg465   |103.25.46.xxx |2014-04-18 13:55:24
Hey are using WordPress for your blog platform? I'm new to the blog world but
I'm trying to get started and set up my own. Do you require any coding knowledge
to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated! eedbabggkg
SRMohawk   |24.21.8.xxx |2016-02-23 03:20:41
I'm Roman Catholic and a family man (i.e. I have a lovely wife and three
children). And yet for me 'Melancholie der Engel' is one of the most
extraordinary art films ever made! So it troubles me when I read or hear the
typical review of it, describing it as worthless and/or without merit of any
kind. But it seems the overwhelming majority of these reviewers only speak to
the face value of the film's images. What of the incredibly penetrating
dialogue? What of the Frank Oliver character's being so tormented and so filled
with self-loathing? What of the fact that the three young woman characters are
so beautiful and so feminine and yet so summarily cast off as if they was really
nothing about them that would make men covet and cling to them? And what about
the loneliness and finality of the final scene?!?! I'm not smart enough to
compose a genuinely literary and philosophical critique of the subject film -
nor am I so...
Bobbyjoe  - A lovely thing   |1.120.152.xxx |2016-03-03 03:01:57
Melancholie der Engel is a beautiful film. I cannot fathom the animosity it
seems to generate. 

A few small animals may have been harmed in the production. A cat might have been killed. The pig died for sure, but who gives two shits?
I'm
pretty sure a goat fucked the fat chick.

I am not convinced of the
reality of what is portrayed in these supposed death scenes - which
were not especially cruel at any rate. It may have been editing trickery.
One way or the other. A cinematic effect should not tarnish
your enjoyment of this unique film.

Does it seem odd that a site
specialising in horror should object to... well, horror?
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