The stoical calm expressed by the melancholic when faced with the destruction of the planet is one of the most striking features of Lars von Trier’s Melancholia. Resolute and persevering the melancholic directs his gaze towards the material in an attempt to revitalize the real, the actual. In Ingeborg Stana’s film Lost in the woods the static camera is trailed on familiar Norwegian forest motifs. But the perspective is strange, at an angle, upside down. We see the treetops, the horizon lines and the lake as we have never seen them before, and in this way Stana makes us see them afresh.
The voice-over that introduces the film is – symptomatically – derived from a classic science fiction film. The female narrator looks back on nature as something from the past. All this is over, she contends. It once existed – the forest, the lake, the earth, the tree trunks – but it is now gone, replaced by something other. We are not told what this other is, but the radical demise forces the gaze to search for something that it had not previously registered. The shock of the posthumous is refreshing!
The melancholic’s “dry” view of nature in this way creates a constructive space for reflection: what “is” nature, which is so clearly taken for granted and given such enduring values? Stana’s camera represents the perspective of death. However, it is not primarily a grieving point of view, instead it gives the viewer the opportunity to see the familiar anew - to search for qualities that previously went unnoticed