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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 74,281 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
Linda Houston
Vladica Kostic ...
Gene Jezkova
Brenda (as Siobhan Fallon)
District Attorney
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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?


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 »


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 »


Jeff: I don't understand. In musicals, why do they start to sing and dance all of a sudden? I mean, I don't suddenly start... to sing and dance.
See more »


Referenced in From Dogma to Dogville: Don't Try This at Home (2006) See more »


Written by Björk
Arranged, Orchestrated & Conducted by Vincent Mendoza
Produced by Björk
Mixed by Mark Stent (as Mark "Spike" Stent)
Published by Universal Music
See more »

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User Reviews

A Movie To Break Your Heart
23 August 2000 | by (Helsinki, Finland) – See all my reviews

It feels awkward to attempt to put Dancer in the Dark into words. Von Trier's film is one of those movies that truly change the way we think about cinema and its possibilities, and for such a film, words do no justice. Dancer in the Dark centers around Selma (Björk), a factory worker, who loves her 10-year-old son above everything else in the world. Selma is a happy, innocent creature who enjoys musicals for "nothing bad ever happens in them". These elements (mother's love for her son, joyfulness of musicals versus the hardships of every day life) create a whole unlike anything ever seen on silver screen. Selma is rapidly losing her eye sight, but not her vision: she's the 'dancer in the dark' who is prepared to sacrifice herself to keep the light in her child's eyes. Very early on it becomes obvious that this story can't have a happy ending. However, once you've accepted it, you can put your mind at ease and see the film as it unfolds from Selma's point of view. And what a view it is! Björk gives a performance of a life time - this little woman with a huge voice is all emotion all the time without ever appearing overtly dramatic or cheaply sentimental. There's no weak link in the rest of the cast either, Peter Stormare as Jeff, Catherine Deneuve as Kathy and Siobhan Fallon as the prison guard to name but a few. The biggest star is still the director himself; von Trier demonstrates his talent in a superb fashion by both telling a simple story that will most likely break you heart and examining the ever-persistent ills of the life of the lower class of the American society. What about the film's musical character then? This is where von Trier triumphs the most by understanding the very essence of the whole genre - hope; hope that will live in our soul for ever if we'll only follow our heart.

144 of 182 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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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