The Hiding Place From Melancholia
(Neal Horsley, Christian Gallery News Service, 1/23/2012) The screen had just gone to black after the collision had destroyed planet earth. The alpha homosexual of the couple sitting behind me shattered the tension in the theatre by uttering the perfect quip, "Where's the happy ending when you need it?"
A perfect ending for a perfect symbol in a perfect theatre in a perfect example of how hard most people work to avoid facing reality.
The theatre I sat in is the only one in the State of Georgia showing Melancholia, Lars Von Triers' latest. I drove fifty miles one way because I really needed to see the film on a big screen after watching it on my laptop. Even though the sole theatre in the State was also the daily Atlanta venue for The Rocky Horror Picture Show attracting its usual suspects, I figured I could avoid being ID'd by that audience and maybe stoned like Stephen, if I went to the Sunday afternoon matinee.
And it worked, except the homosexual couple who sat directly behind me had a feeling they knew me from somewhere but couldn't get me in focus before the movie mesmerized us all, keeping us spellbound until the screen went to black after the aforementioned earth-ending collision.
And that is the point; that's what made the homosexual's quip work: the earth ended. There was no possibility of a happy ending. No survivors possible. No Noah and his family riding the Ark. No Mel Gibson blade running. Life as the scientists know it was obliterated.
Why in the world would anybody see such a movie, even see it twice like me?
Great question, one I had a hard time answering.
To answer that question, I had to see it on the big screen, had to jog my mind with the strongest dose possible of the images contained in the film.
My answer is everybody has to face the reality symbolized by Melancholia. At the personal, private, totally individual level, every person on earth has to face the fact that their planet will be destroyed. Their individual body--my individual body--and the planet I ride on will be disintegrated exactly as if another planet collided with earth and the resulting collision vaporized all life on earth, from bugs to worms to you and me. When I die it will all be vaporized. Exactly like in the film.
The fact that Lars Von Trier could convince Kirsten Dunst and an assortment of some of the best character actors on earth to lend their talent to this project proves such artists are willing to face the fact that we have to die.
It's the why and what happens next that bedevils those who think about such things; it's the why and what happens next that is thrown into consciousness when we finally face that which has the power to terrorize every person on earth.
Terrorize the world is what happened in the movie when it turned out that the scientists got it wrong and the Internet got it right. Instead of the planet doing a fly-by as the earth's renowned scientific community unanimously agreed, the doomsayers on the Internet who mapped the path leading to inevitable collision got the last I told you so before our own personal reverse Big Bang became cinematic history.
Von Trier's dialogue left no doubt that the failure of science to not only anticipate but prepare people for their inevitable fate was a central defining image of the film.
The other defining image was Kirsten Dunst's solution, the one she offered after telling us all that there was no life anywhere else in the universe; that this planet has all the life there was, and we were going to be destroyed because we were evil.
Did you get that? Why were we going to be destroyed? We were evil, that's why. Dunst was certain that was why life, all life in the universe was to be extinguished.
A nine year old boy led Dunst to propose a solution. The boy had to be comforted as his fate grew ever more certain, after his doggedly optimistic father--Keifer Sutherland--had committed suicide, proving to the boy that no hope for survival remained.
Dunst's solution? She knew how to build a "Magic Cave" that they could all go to and abide in when the collision occurred, a "Magic Cave" that would give them courage and hope.
The "Magic Cave" turned out to be an uncovered wigwam of widely separated, thin sticks about five feet in diameter where it sat on the ground and about nine inches in diameter at the top. The boy, his mother, and Kirsten Dunst entered the "Magic Cave", sat in the lotus position, held hands, and then the collision came, wiping them out with the most perfect destruction imaginable.
Then the screen went black and the homosexual quipped, "Where's a happy ending when you need one?"
I didn't tell him the answer to his question then, but here it is.
Corrie Ten Boom wrote a book called The Hiding Place. Her book was a reference to Isa 32:2 And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. Or maybe Corrie Ten Boom referred to one of the other places in the Bible that talks about a Hiding Place; I don't remember.
But I'm certain I remember this: Jesus Christ is the True "Magic Cave." He is the Only True Hiding Place.
The point--and why I'm writing this--is anybody who does not go there NOW has to experience the collision that will disintegrate their body as surely as the people sitting in Kirsten Dunst's Magic Cave were disintegrated.
But here's the really horrible part: it won't happen when we know we've all got to face it together, like in the movie. It will happen when we have to face it all alone, with no other person on earth to help us, no one to guide us to the Hiding Place, no one to prepare a soft landing. If you don't go to the Hiding Place NOW, you will be alone when the final collision comes.
But if you will go to the Hiding Place NOW, you can learn that this thing we call life, this thing we call the material world--the material universe--is not the only place life exists. In the Hiding Place Corrie Ten Boom found, eternal life will always exist. Even if the earth explodes, implodes, or simply commodes, eternal Life has come. And dealt among us. And made a Hiding Place because He dwelt among us.
Praise His Holy Name, and thank Lars Von Trier and his friends for being given a way to move us all to think about these things. While no one in the movie mentioned or even seemed to think about The Hiding Place I'm telling you about, I can't help but think they hoped somebody would show people that there is more to this life than fairy tales about "Magic Caves" and other meaningless myths.
It might help if you'd pass this message on.