...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

July 29, 2006

Dancer in the Dark - 6

This is Lars von Trier's commentary on musicals their purpose. Breaking out into song makes a serious plot with the potential to become very bad, light-hearted and fun (Life is Beautiful could have been a musical, in this film Trier uses The Sound of Music as his musical par excellence). Bjork plays the main character who is an immigrant from Czechoslovakia who lives in Washington State. Working two jobs so she can in order to save up money for her son (who will be able to avoid the genetic inheritance of blindness). The plot soon gets messy as there are lies thrown around and she is eventually arrested for murder. All the while getting by with dreaming of musical numbers. Trier know just how to get at your emotions without manipulation and the result is often brutal honesty. The story gets at some good questions of the value of one's life, what is worth dying for. This film works as somewhat of an allegory of the Christian story (Dogville does this as well). This film also explains some of the Hollywood complaints that Trier is sort of anti-American, which he denies. I can see the criticism, but he's never been to America, so he is only using the material that Hollywood and news media gave him (Is that irony?). Bjork also wrote the music for this film which is really good - the soundtrack is called Selmasongs.

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