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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
2,937 ( 37)
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

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 (Björk) 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

Even though Selma is from Czechoslovakia, her accent is neither Czech nor Slovak. See more »

Quotes

District Attorney: If this relationship was made up by the defendant, then, can you think of any way she might have come to know your name?
Oldrich Novy: I was once well known in Czechoslovakia, because of my profession.
District Attorney: Yes, Mr. Oldrich Novy, what is your profession? Maybe that can give us a clue to why, why this somewhat romantic, certainly Communistic, woman who worships Fred Astaire, but not his country, why she might have lied and misused your name - make everybody think that all the money was spent on a poor father and ...
[...]
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 Mark Ordesky informed director Lars von Trier 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 Vibeke Windeløv. See more »

Connections

References The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) 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

 
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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