Dancer in the Dark : LUSENET : The Art of Film : One Thread

I just finished watching "Dancer in the Dark", and I'd be very interested to hear what anyone thought of it.

I looked into it initially because of my love of Bjork, and also because I had heard that it was a film that mixed fantasy and reality, internal and external, and that's been a filmic fixation of mine lately. I must say that I don't really like Lars von Trier's style of filming or editing, and strangely enough, I was hoping that the fantasy musical sequences would end up looking more like commericals for the Gap, making stranger and more "unreal" use of lighting, etc. For the first hour or so, I was fairly disappointed.

As I neared the end of the film, I came to be drawn to Bjork's great ability to release emotion. She does it in her music, and now I know she can do it through acting as well. In scenes such as the fight with David Morse and the final scene, she's particularly good. And yet, here is my conflict: this film was definitely the "feel-bad" hit of the year. But is that bad? I have to say that I'm not sure, myself. It didn't leave me depressed. I'm personally drawn to an emotionally turbulent film like this for some reason, and although I don't like the director's techniques, they lent a sense of realism to the emotion that only helped all the more to impart a sense of seriousness and dread. Is this some kind of filmic masochism? Or, is it an exercise in compassion, putting oneself in the shoes of another human being, contrived and fictional as their character may be?

Peter, I also must mention that one of my first thoughts after viewing this film was that it reminded me in a way of episodes of Aeon Flux such as "Tide" and "Ether Drift Theory", in which tragic human misunderstanding takes the forefront. Did you have any thoughts on this?

-- Matthew Rebholz (, March 26, 2001


I saw it when it was in theaters and I had about the same reaction that you did...except that the people I saw it with pretty much hated it, which detracted from my experience. And although it was emotionally draining, it was not the "feel-bad" hit of the year. That award goes to Requiem for a Dream. That one left me shaking at the end.

-- Agent 1137 (, April 02, 2001.

Speaking of Darren Aronofsky, I just rented Pi because I heard it was "like Eraserhead." Pretty cool.

-- Frostbite (, January 28, 2002.

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