What is Lars von Trier Depression Trilogy about?

This post answers: What is Lars von Trier Depression Trilogy about? Who is Lars von Trier?What is depression? What are the symptoms of depression?  What are the causes of depression? What are the treatment options for depression?

What is Lars von Trier Depression Trilogy about?

Antichrist, Sadness, and Nymphomaniac comprise the contentious collection of the Depression Trilogy. These three strikingly distressing movies are classics in their very own right, and they are linked by the theme of depression, which troubles their female protagonists.

The unapologetically distressing grief which encases the female stars manifests itself in different styles. It seeps out in massive signals for Melancholia’s Justine (Kirsten Dunst) incapacitating and leaving an unresponsive viewer. 

The sadness of Antichrist’s nameless character ‘She’ (Charlotte Gainsbourg) manifests itself as an irregular and violent psychotic episodes and Nymphomaniac’s Joe (Gainsbourg again) conveys her depressive episodes through a straightforward and uncomfortable physical self-hatred. 

The manifestation of its overwhelming power is prevalent all through the series. People see it clearly for the first time in Antichrist where nature primarily performs the third character a dark, living entity viewed as ‘Devil’s play area,’ and thought to be the decisive element of the women’s evil system. 

Trees appear again in Nymphomaniac, where Joe discusses ‘finding your soul tree,’ which determines a person and their existence. 

When Joe learns her own soul tree and becomes intermittently quiet and comprehensive, it is one of the solely pleasant moments in the emotionally exhausting plot.

Nature is also important in Melancholia, where the environments are dreamy with lush greens, vegetation, and water. Justine’s significant sexual experience takes place outside, amidst lush elements of nature. 

Later, she is discovered naked on the green grass creek embankment, looking content, and taking a bath in the moon light and Sadness.

There is a crucial point in each film of the Depression Trilogy in which the ‘Lars lady’ rests on the ground and has a psychologically extensive experience. 

They ‘become one’ with the earth, all appearing to connect to nature’s recurrence and participate in a passive dialogue with it. Von Trier clearly has a relationship with nature and considers it to be an outgrowth of himself. 

Rather than holding his emotions as the brave nymphomaniac seems to, he ends up committing sexual assault, demonstrating his vulnerability and lack of direction. ‘He’ (Willem Dafoe) in Antichrist is also emotionally immature and suppressed.

More involved in textbook interpretation than human connection his wife’s thought-provoking anxiety and desire to eat for damage expose him as the most scandalously empty human canvas.

Lars von Trier has positioned himself as clean as a creator can in the Depression Trilogy. He hasn’t glamorized the ugliness of his feelings or imaginings, but he has left a lot to analysis. 

He hasn’t left any questions unanswered, but it’s up to the viewer to make decisions on which stones to lift. He convinces people of everything and yet nothing at the same time. 

Von Trier, like any true artist, may have created confusion than directly answering some aspects while remaining brutally honest.

The Depression Trilogy’s films are an anti-misogyny representation. The female characters in all three cases have immense power and psychological intensity, illustrating von Trier’s respect for women as performers and as talented forms of media of his own thoughts and feelings. The three women’s character strength definitely reveals the traditional male shortcomings.

What is Lars von Trier Depression Trilogy about?

Who is Lars von Trier?

Lars von Trier is a Danish movie director and scriptwriter who has had a famous, successful,l and contentious career spanning over four decades. 

His job is notable for its format and technological improvements, confrontational extensive study of introspective, cultural, and political factors, and therapeutic interventions of topics such as compassion, selflessness, and psychological health.

Von Trier is the founder and sole shareholder of Zentropa Films, a Danish film production company that has managed to sell over 350 million tickets and received seven Academy Award nominations.

What is depression?

Depression is one of the most common serious mental health conditions that negatively impact how an individual feels and thinks.

Depression is associated with feelings of sadness, a loss of interest in daily activities, and drastic changes in the energy level and the daily routines of an individual.

Depression in itself can lead to other physical and emotional problems which can be detrimental to a person’s functioning.

The symptoms of depression can vary from individual to individual from mild to severe depending on various factors.

Studies indicate that depression affects about 15% of adults every year and one in every six people experience depression at some time in their life.

Although depression can occur at any age it is more common among teenagers and early adults. Research indicates that women are more vulnerable to depression than men.

What are the symptoms of depression?

The characteristic symptoms of depression are:

  • Feelings of sadness or depressed mood
  • Loss of interest in activities enjoyed in the past
  • Changes in appetite leading to weight gain or weight loss
  • Changes in sleep patterns with very little sleep or long hours of sleep
  • Decrease in the level of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Feeling guilty
  • Difficulty thinking and concentrating
  • In severe cases thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms of depression must last up to two weeks and cause significant impairment in an individual’s daily functioning to meet the diagnosis of depression.

 What are the causes of depression?

Depression can be caused due to several factors such as:


Age might be an important factor in understanding the severity of depression in people. Reports indicate that elderly people are at higher risk of depression than the.


Another very common reason for individuals to experience depression is a conflict that can be internal or external. Many individuals are biologically vulnerable to high levels of conflict falling prey to depression more easily.

Major life events

Many individuals might also experience depression due to major life events such as the death or loss of something very personal.


Reports indicate that women are more likely you get depressed the reason for this is not explained in much detail but it is believed that the hormonal changes that women experience might contribute to their higher likelihood of experiencing depression.


Certain over-the-counter medications might also lead to depression in many individuals such as isotretinoin interferon-alpha and corticosteroids.

Serious illnesses

In many cases, depression occurs as a comorbid condition with other illnesses that individuals are experiencing be it physical psychological.

Substance misuse

It is found that about 30% of individuals with drug abuse and misuse are diagnosed with clinical depression.


Individuals who have a history of depression in their family are more likely to experience depression than those who do not. This indicates that depression can be genetic to some extent like many other I kept disorders.

What are the treatment options for depression?

Depression though widespread is one of the most treatable mental illnesses. About 90% of people with depression respond well to treatment.

Some possible treatment options for depression are


Antidepressants are very commonly prescribed by doctors to individuals with depression. These medications are not sedatives or tranquilizers. They generally do not have any stimulating effects on people who do not experience depression.

Antidepressants usually show their effects within a few weeks. However, in cases where patients do not see any improvement after several weeks, they can alter their doses based on the suggestions provided by their health care practitioners.


Psychotherapy is also called talk therapy. It is used as a single mode of treatment for mild depression or for moderate to severe depression along with antidepressants.

Psychotherapy might involve the individual alone or other related individuals for instance the family of the concerned person.

Depending on the severity of depression psychotherapy might take a few weeks or much longer for significant improvement

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy where the therapist actively focuses on problem-solving. This is done by helping individuals replace their negative thoughts with more positive ones.

Electroconvulsive therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy is a treatment model that is commonly used for patients with severe and major depression who usually do not respond to other lines of treatment.

It involves brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia.

Patients receive electroconvulsive therapy two or three times a week for a total of 6 to 12 sessions.

Self-help and coping strategies

Apart from therapy and medicine individuals can also carry out some self-help coping strategies such as carrying out regular exercises, getting sufficient sleep, indulging in pleasurable activities, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding alcohol to reduce their symptoms of depression

Frequently asked questions: What is Lars von Trier’s Depression Trilogy about?

Which Lars von Trier film should I watch first?

Nymphomaniac Vol I/II (2013) – is unnerving and has a really quite tragic ending, with stellar performances.

Is Lars von Trier making a new movie?

Zentropa Entertainments is producing The Kingdom Exodus for NENT Group and DR, in collaboration with Film I Vast and the Nordisk Film & TV Fond, and even with funding from the European Union’s Creative Europe program. 

Is Melancholia worth watching?

MELANCHOLIA falls far short of becoming a good movie, but it is absolutely worth watching.

What is Lars von Trier known for?

Lars von Trier, born Lars Trier on April 30, 1956, in Copenhagen, Denmark, is a Danish movie director and co-founder of the Dogme 95 movement, known for his depressing ideology and sensitive subject matter.