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Dancer in the Dark (2000)

Trailer
2:34 | Trailer
An East European girl travels to the United States 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
2,811 ( 272)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 35 wins & 47 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
Learn more

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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role of Cathy, Selma (Björk)'s best friend, was originally written for an African-American woman. However, Catherine Deneuve, who had written to Lars von Trier several years earlier about the possibility of doing a film together, expressed interest in the part. She had watched his film Breaking the Waves (1996) and, upon becoming a fan of his work, sent letters to him, begging Von Trier to let her appear in his next project. Von Trier cast her and slightly rewrote the part as a French immigrant woman to accommodate Deneuve. See more »

Goofs

Even though Selma is from Czechoslovakia, her accent is neither Czech nor Slovak. 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 film originally contained a song entitled "141 Steps"; however, after the Cannes premiere, director Lars von Trier decided to shorten it, and the song was subsequently reworked and retitled "107 Steps." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return: Yongary (2017) 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 »

User Reviews

A film so perfect it hurts to watch.
10 November 2000 | by Pseudo-geordie boySee 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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Details

Language:

English | German | Czech

Release Date:

6 October 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dancer in the Dark See more »

Filming Locations:

Arlington, Washington, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$91,612, 24 September 2000

Gross USA:

$4,184,036

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$40,031,879
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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