An Eastern European US immigrant with a love for musicals has to cope with the gradual loss of her vision.An Eastern European US immigrant with a love for musicals has to cope with the gradual loss of her vision.An Eastern European US immigrant with a love for musicals has to cope with the gradual loss of her vision.
A Movie To Break Your Heart
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.
- Aug 23, 2000
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