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Dancer in the Dark (2000)

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

Director:

(as Lars Von Trier)

Writer:

(as Lars Von Trier)
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3,304 ( 34)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 33 wins & 45 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Linda Houston
Vladica Kostic ...
Gene Jezkova
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Norman
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Samuel
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Brenda (as Siobhan Fallon)
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District Attorney
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Morty
Reathel Bean ...
Judge
Mette Berggreen ...
Receptionist
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Storyline

1964 in small town Washington state. Selma Jezková, a Czechoslovakian immigrant, and her preteen son Gene live in a rented trailer owned by and on the property of married Bill and Linda Houston, he the town sheriff. Beyond Bill and Linda, Selma has a small group of friends who look out for her, including her primary confidante, Kathy, with who she works, and Jeff who wants to be her boyfriend. Jeff regularly waits outside Selma's workplace long before the end of her shift to drive her home, despite she always refusing in not wanting to lead him on. Her primary job is working on the Anderson Tool factory assembly line, but she does whatever she can to earn money. What only Kathy knows among Selma's friends is that she is slowly going blind, her medical condition being genetic. Selma is barely able to see, just enough to do her job. Her primary reason for moving to the US and for working all the time is to earn enough money for an operation for Gene when he turns thirteen, he who ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You don't need eyes to see. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Musical

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

6 October 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bailando en la oscuridad  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$4,157,491 (USA) (15 December 2000)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the soundtrack, all the additional vocals are done by the cast, except for "I've Seen It All", where Radiohead's Thom Yorke replaces Peter Stormare. Despite the song being omitted from the actual soundtrack, many fans of the film have entitled the song that Selma sings as "The Next To Last Song" even though the song itself is actually an a cappella lyrical reworking of "New World", the seventh and final song on the soundtrack, and the song that plays during the closing credits. See more »

Goofs

When Kathy shows up to help Selma on the night shift, she is speaking, but her mouth is clearly not saying the words we hear. See more »

Quotes

Jeff: [referring to Gene] Why did you have him? You knew he would have the same disease as you.
Selma: I just wanted to hold a little baby.
See more »

Connections

References Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

NEW WORLD (OVERTURE)
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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