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Dancer in the Dark (2000)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Musical  |  6 October 2000 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 74,305 users   Metascore: 61/100
Reviews: 687 user | 175 critic | 33 from

An east European girl goes to America with her young son, expecting it to be like a Hollywood film.


(as Lars Von Trier)


(as Lars Von Trier)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 35 wins & 40 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Oldrich Novy
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Selma has emigrated with her son from Central Europe to America. The year is 1964. Selma works day and night to save her son from the same disease she suffers from, a disease that inevitably will make her blind. But Selma has the energy to live because of her secret! She loves musicals. When life feels tough she can pretend that she is in the wonderful world of musicals...just for a short moment. All happiness life is not able to give her she finds there... Written by Fredrik Klasson <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In a world of shadows, she found the light of life. See more »


Crime | Drama | Musical

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


Release Date:

6 October 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bailando en la oscuridad  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$12,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$63,858 (Norway) (8 September 2000)


ESP 290,047,040 (Spain) (29 June 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Stellan Skarsgård was originally cast in the role of Jeff, Selma's would-be boyfriend, but was unable to play a part as large as that due to a scheduling conflict (with Aberdeen (2000)). The part of Jeff went instead to Peter Stormare, and Skarsgård ended up playing the substantially smaller (only two scenes) role of Selma's eye doctor. See more »


Even though Selma is from Czechoslovakia, her accent is not Czech nor Slovak. See more »


Selma: [singing] This isn't the last song, there's no violin, the choir is quiet, and no one takes a spin, this is the next to last song, and that's all...
See more »


Referenced in Sal de Prata (2005) See more »


Written by Björk, Sjón Sigurdsson & Lars von Trier
Performed by Björk
Arranged by Björk & Vincent Mendoza
Orchestrated & Conducted by Vincent Mendoza
Produced by Björk
Mixed by Mark Stent (as Mark "Spike" Stent)
Published by Universal Music & Copyright Control
See more »

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User Reviews

A film so perfect it hurts to watch.
10 November 2000 | by (newcastle, UK) – See all my reviews

This is quite possibly the most moving film I've seen, it ensnares you within the first minute, or Bjork does with her interpretation of the sound of music, which is both hilarious and introduces one of the main themes: the magic of musicals. Not one of my favourite genres (but everyone loves The Sound Of Music, right?) but Lars Von Trier makes you re-evaluate your perception with a gentle loving pastiche of the way for no reason people and things in musicals spontaneously erupt into song, made more credible in this film by implicating a reason for it: Bjork's character is going blind so she hears music in the slightest thing and she, in her mind, sees how moves should be choreographed with the music she hears, reminiscent of her own ‘It's Oh So Quiet' music video. And the best thing about this film is the way Bjork charms you with her portrayal of the nicest person in the world, she will do anything for you if she could. She is essentially an innocent and though this is her weakness you can't help but love her all the more: a sparkling performance from a unique singer in real life.

However from this don't assume that this is a light happy film as there is a dark tragic side also, and this side is full of injustice, agony- and I mean agony-, sorrow- like you'd not believe-, and an intense emotional pull as I've ever felt in a cinema before, and it's this half that propels it from being just a great film to becoming one of the greatest. Its greatness is in telling a simple story of a woman trying to stop her own genetic sight disorder afflicting her son, by working every hour to afford the operation, working heavy machinery despite essentially being virtually blind, its greatness is its ability to inflict upon you the gift of feeling every conceivable emotion you posses and you do, you really do experience so much during this film. But I'll not say too much as my enjoyment of this film increased due to, for a change, not second guessing what would happen but to just let it be, I would say to passively watch but there's nothing passive about this film. It really moves you. It makes you feel alive.

This film should be seen alone, in the quiet when you are all by yourself, but more importantly than that it should be seen: this is more than mere movie this is art this is real this is the greatest film I have ever seen: even better than Casablanca, and Shadowlands, and The Piano.

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Message Boards

Recent Posts
Just awful rob-asbell
Selma is a murderer with a low IQ, I feel sorry for her orphan nickymelnar
Most depressing movie I have ever seen. PerceptiveGal
Did anyone NOT cry?... justsomerandomirrelevantweirdo
Not convinced by Bjorks acting abilities tallbird50
view of America richee-1
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