By Eric Kohn | Eric Kohn April 8, 2011 at 5:13AM
The trailer for Lars Von Trier's dark family drama "Melancholia" hit the web today, catching fire immediately for its freaky apocalyptic imagery and intense performances by Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Anne Thompson compared the heavy symbolic content to Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life" trailer, which I broke down shot-by-shot a little while back. "Melancholia" isn't quite as visually dense, but it's certainly loaded with big ideas, although it have some company. "Another Earth," the low budget sci-fi effort directed by Mike Cahill and picked up by Fox Searchlight at Sundance this year, also involves the sudden arrival of a new planet adjacent to our own. "Another Earth" hits theaters July 20; "Melancholia" doesn't have a release date yet, although Magnolia Pictures will distribute it in the U.S.
Will Von Trier face competition from newcomer Cahill? Don't bet on it. My sense is that "Another Earth" is too small and offbeat to obscure "Melancholia" and the larger-than-life personality of its director. "Melancholia" also looks downright terrifying, while "Another Earth" takes a quiet philosophical route. Von Trier probably won't both to see Cahill's movie, but that's not enough to keep him from talking smack about it.
After the jump, watch the two trailers side-by-side and figure out which one has a leg up.