This is the most horrifying movie I've seen gave it 10, though . I had the sensation that I was witnessing somebody die - and like Selma in the movie, I just begged for another musical-show to begin... I couldn't stand it. Everything is so tormenting and you just need that last but not last!? dance... Bjork is stunning as Selma, and the music she has composed blew me away. Even though this is perhaps the movie that has left the strongest impression with me ever, I don't know when I will be able watch it again.
A Movie To Break Your Heart (by Outi)
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 <more>
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.
A film so perfect it hurts to watch. (by Pseudo-geordie boy)
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 <more>
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.
Odd, bleak, but ultimately transfixing musical drama, pop singer Björk immerses herself completely in this tailor-made role. (by gbrumburgh)
The reviews were extremely black and white for this art-house film. People were either enthralled or bored to tears by the whole experience. There seemed to be no middle ground. Now, that's my kind of movie. Any picture that can reap awards Cannes Film Festival and get lambasted by the general public at the same time will always pique my interest. In respect, it was a rich, rewarding odyssey, much easier to get through than, let's say, even half of "8½." My initial respect for the unique, uncompromising style of Danish director Lars von Trier goes back to his compelling <more>
work in "Zentropa" and "Breaking the Waves," both bleak, surrealistic studies of man vs. reality. His pieces usually center around some innocent, simple-minded, self-sacrificing soul who inevitably succumbs to the cruelties of life.I found the central role of Selma as played by the extraordinary Björk to be very much the emotional equivalent of Emily Watson's touchingly childlike, near-sociopath Bess in "Breaking the Waves" -- blessed and cursed with a naive, soulful purity. Selma represents one of God's little quirks of nature. A bespectacled, pathetically infantile little ragamuffin completely out of touch, Selma has somehow survived like the runt of a litter would - through luck, will power, and the extreme kindness of those around her. An impoverished Czech-born emigré living in a small Northwestern U.S. industrial town during the mid-60s, this luckless creature manages to eek out a meager Airstream-like existence as a factory worker, despite the fact she is legally blind.Selma is, amazingly enough, a mother. Seemingly ill-equipped to care for a child much less herself, she has nevertheless managed to provide for the 12-year-old boy, while nurturing the child as a young girl would her rag doll. The fairly adjusted boy suffers, however, from the same optic disease as the mother, while the crux of the story revolves around her attempts to save up money for his inevitable operation. The fascination of "Dancer in the Dark" lies in Selma's musical world. With her eyesight failing, her ears become the only sense of joy, falling periodically into bouts of fantasy anytime she grabs onto a rhythm or beat like machine sounds, train engines, etc. , wherein she becomes the star of her own working-class musical production. These compelling sequences become mere extensions of her real-life circumstances, i.e., the musical interludes at work will include the factory itself as a set piece and the other workers as her ensemble. A strange mix of Fellini neo-realism and Busby Berkeley illusion, these daydreams sparked by Vincent Paterson's inventive choreography and von Trier's purposely puerile lyrics become her only escape. Björk's odd musical talent and vocal style may be an acquired taste, but she is so mesmerizing here it becomes a non-issue. In addition, there are brief moments of levity as a hopelessly inept community theater production of "The Sound of Music" goes into rehearsals with the very awkward Selma playing Maria.The subordinate cast is equally in tune. The wonderful, beguiling French star Catherine Deneuve downplays her ethereal beauty as Kathy, Selma's co-worker and trusted friend. And a strange, maternalistic friendship it is indeed, for this woman seems to have no other purpose in life than to be this girl's eyes and hands, looking out for her practically day and night. Peter "Fargo" Stormare shies away from his ruthless killer image with this touching portrayal of a sensitive, almost pitiable boor who only has eyes for the ungainly Selma. David Morse is gripping as a seemingly compassionate but despairing policeman whose one desperate act involving neighbor Selma results in tragedy. Joel Grey has a brief, telling moment near the film's end as a faded musical star idolized by Selma.As in his other featured works, von Trier's gritty, hand-held camera work may be dizzying to the point of distraction at first but its overall impact to the stark proceedings is unquestionable. Moreover, the grueling paces he puts his actresses through to achieve absolute truth borders on misogyny but the rewards are tenfold. As in the case of Emily Watson, Björk has never shined brighter as an artist.A harrowing, refreshingly original piece of filmmaking that should be experienced by anybody who dares to be different.
An extraordinary, quietly exploding film - a fantasy and musical, it emanates with human spirits (by ruby_fff)
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 <more>
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!
Very Sad Reality In a Touching Story (by claudio_carvalho)
Selma Jeskova Björk is an immigrant from East Europe living in America, who works in a factory as a worker. She is a sweet and naive person and love musicals. She has a degenerative disease and is becoming blind. She works hard, including in the night shift, to save all the money she can get to permit her son Gene to be submitted to an eyes surgery when he reaches thirteen years old. Her unique entertainment is the theater, where she rehearses 'The Sound of Music' at night, and going to the movie theater with her best friend and colleague Kathy Catherine Deneuve . Selma lives in a <more>
trailer rented by Bill Houston David Morse and his wife Linda Cara Seymour . Bill is a police officer, who spends more than he earns, to satisfy the requests of his beloved wife. One day, Bill finds where Selma keeps her money and steals her. A tragedy happens when she claims her money back. First of all, what a surprise the magnificent performance of the Icelandic pop singer Björk! Catherine Deneuve is one of the best actresses in the world, and the rest of the cast is excellent, but Björk is really wonderful in this role. The direction Lars Von Trier is stunning as usual. But this sad and touching story of an immigrant in the land of the capitalism is marvelous. The injustice with Selma recalls the story of Jean Valjean. It is not usual to see the life of honest low class Americans in films; low class are usually presented as lazy, rednecks, losers, but not as hard workers as the characters of this story are. In most of American films, a small amount is never the problem for honest persons. But in this movie, all the drama happens because of US$ 2,056.10. The main character works a lifetime to raise this amount to save the eyes of her son; the police officer changes his concept of morality and ethics stealing this amount; and Selma can not afford this amount to pay for the services of an efficient lawyer. Very sad reality in a wonderful movie. My vote is nine.Title Brazil : 'Dançando no Escuro ' Dancing in the Dark'
Dancer in the Dark haunted me. This film was an amazing view into the human mind as well as a tragic story of hopeless hope, betrayal by others, and still remaining true to yourself. Bjork produces an inspirational performance, of which one would never think she is not primarily an actress. Some of her moments in this film bring you to tears with their absolute honesty. The ensemble cast are a godsend as well. Peter Stormare, Catherine Denevue, and David Morse in particular. Morse, playing the most varied and difficult character, succeeds with apparent ease. The only complaint I had of the <more>
film is that it was slightly drawn out and slow paced. However, it is still spiked with moments of surprise that knock you so hard, you are pulled back in immediately. With an incredible closeness to these people, Dancer in the Dark will make you think and stretch your emotions to the limit.
Pure torture to watch, but I gave it an 8 (by preppy-3)
Why? Because it's a one of a kind movie. The acting is superb especially Bjork , direction assured and the musical numbers are great. Still, it's the most depressing film I've ever seen. By the end of the film I was crying practically non-stop. It's so bleak I don't think I'll ever see it again, but it should be seen at least once by everybody. It shows misery and suffering full throttle. You'll either love it or loathe it I'm somewhere in th middle , but you'll never see anything like it again and you won't forget it. Just bring lots of Kleenex.
Bjork: The Falconetti of our time (by Cristiano-A)
The cinema of Lars Von Trier continues to be adored by ones and hated by others. This important figure of European cinema loves to collate his own fears, anguishes and revolts through his movies. The world of Von Trier is rough and wild, where we can never be comfortable and where is no redemption. There are no happy endings to soften the public. The reality is tremendous and unbearable, when we go down to the purgatory of human nature. As we follow Selma, a Czechoslovakian immigrant in the United States, we see a woman who fights daily to give her son the life that she can never have, while <more>
she is loosing sight until total blindness. The cause is a genetic disease that could be stopped with a surgery. But the surgery is expensive and she can only save for one. As the time passes she depletes herself in the factory where she works and dreams about musicals. In a way, is like her rough life could change into a everlasting all-singing and all-dancing number on some Hollywood classic musical. It's this passion that makes Selma's life bearable and that guides her in the worst times to the fantasy of a world where people sing and dance and where the joy never ends. When she returns to reality, the love for her child is the only thing that keeps her moving, working till exhaustion, even when her sight is almost gone. And when we think that this sacrifice will be rewarded, the life of this martyr is invaded with treason and deceit, beyond our worst thoughts. Since Dryer's The Passion of Joan of Arc that we couldn't see an expression so full of suffering. Bjork is the Falconetti of our time.