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Dancer in the Dark (2000)

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

Director:

Lars von Trier (as Lars Von Trier)

Writer:

Lars von Trier (as Lars Von Trier)
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Popularity
3,461 ( 224)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 33 wins & 46 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Björk ... Selma Jezkova
Catherine Deneuve ... Kathy
David Morse ... Bill Houston
Peter Stormare ... Jeff
Joel Grey ... Oldrich Novy
Cara Seymour ... Linda Houston
Vladica Kostic Vladica Kostic ... Gene Jezkova
Jean-Marc Barr ... Norman
Vincent Paterson ... Samuel
Siobhan Fallon Hogan ... Brenda (as Siobhan Fallon)
Zeljko Ivanek ... District Attorney
Udo Kier ... Dr. Porkorny
Jens Albinus ... Morty
Reathel Bean Reathel Bean ... Judge
Mette Berggreen 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:

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

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Musical

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Language:

English | German | Czech

Release Date:

6 October 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bailando en la oscuridad See more »

Filming Locations:

Arlington, Washington, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$103,102 (Denmark), 10 September 2000, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$91,612, 24 September 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,184,036, 22 December 2000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$40,031,879, 18 July 2001
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It took Lars von Trier a whole year to convince Björk to play the lead role. See more »

Goofs

Despite the movie taking place in the mid-to-late 1960s, a clearly very modern train (from at least the late 70s) can be seen moving past Selma's house early on in the film. See more »

Quotes

Selma: You like the movies, don't you?
Bill Houston: I love the movies. I just love the musicals.
Selma: But isn't it annoying when they do the last song in the films?
Bill Houston: Why?
Selma: Because you just know when it goes really big... and the camera goes like out of the roof... and you just know it's going to end. I hate that. I would leave just after the next to last song... and the film would just go on forever.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original European version had the overture played in dimmed lighting before the curtains opened on the screen. However, Fine Line Features president informed director that such an opening was unfeasible in U.S. theaters, since most American theaters don't have curtains and have electronic projection booths overseen by inexperienced staffers. Thus, von Trier filmed a visual accompaniment to go along with the overture in the U.S. release: a collage of paintings by Per Kirkeby, the artist/husband of producer . See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bodilfesten 2001 (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

In the Musicals, Part 2
Written by Björk, Mark Bell, Sjón Sigurdsson & Lars von Trier
Performed by Björk & Joel Grey
Arranged by Björk & Vincent Mendoza
Orchestrated & Conducted by Vincent Mendoza
Produced by Björk & Mark Bell
Mixed by Mark Stent (as Mark "Spike" Stent)
Published by Universal Music, Warp/EMI Music & Copyright Control
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An extraordinary, quietly exploding film - a fantasy and musical, it emanates with human spirits
20 October 2000 | by ruby_fffSee all my reviews

This is distinguishably different from the general Hollywood films or independent projects. It's not like anything done before. LARS VON TRIER, and BJORK, simply blow your mind away: such totality in delivery!

It's gut wrenching - an absorbing tearjerker - but not sentimental. It is in strong doses. (NFE: it may not be for everyone.) The theatre audience was very quiet with occasional sniffing heard. The film may be a fantasy, yet there are subtle jabs at certain social norms and contains hints at how we treat life and lead life.

Bjork made it natural, innocent, and naively good. It is all Bjork matter: she is feeling all the joy and pain and daydreaming, saying all those words, singing all those songs, and dancing along to the music she so ingeniously composed. Lars von Trier once again wrote and delivered a 100% powerful film. He packs all kinds of emotions into 2 hrs. and 20 mins.: from the endearing friendship of two working women Kathy and Selma; to the faithful loving pursuit of Jeff for Selma; to the quiet exchanges of seemingly trusting souls of Bill and Selma; to Selma's son, Bill's wife, the crime, the court, the prison's loneliness within; the anguish pain of a determined mother; and the integrated mood changing musical numbers in-between. One scene of Bjork lying motionless with just one finger moving with quiet sobbing heard is powerful imagery.

Catherine Deneuve as Kathy is well at ease in her supporting role. She continues to exude her charm quietly. You can tell she thoroughly enjoys the company she's in at this production. Musical-wise, Deneuve is no stranger: besides "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" 1964 - every word in the film was sung, I also remember Jacques Demy's "The Young Girls of Rochefort" 1967 - she danced and sang with her sister Francoise Dorleac, along with Gene Kelly, Michel Piccoli and George Chakiris.

David Morse as Bill (the policeman and neighbor) reminds me of what a memorable performance he delivered in Sean Penn's "The Crossing Guard" 1995 opposite Jack Nicholson and Robin Wright. 'tis great to see Joel Grey dancing again (hm, in the most improbable setting!)

For a 5' 4'' singer-songwriter from Iceland, Bjork is a giant impact in this quiet powerhouse of a film, "Dancer In the Dark." Lars von Trier's vision and confidence in Bjork truly paid off!


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