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Dancer in the Dark

Dancer in the Dark (2000)

You know you're getting something special when watching a Lars Von Trier film and Dancer in the Dark was no exception! It's always a big advantage for a director, in my opinion, when he can deliver something totally different than others in the business. Lars Von Trier is certainly one of those directors for me. This was the third film of his that I watched. Previously I've already seen Melancholia and Antichrist and I liked them both a lot.

Dancer in the Dark is certainly no ordinary musical. In the beginning of the film, the story gets built and the characters are being developed. The first real song only comes in after a substantial amount of time. The film and in particular the main character, the east European Selma (magnificently played by Bjork), uses music as an escape from the real world and the real tragedy that's going on in her life. She lives in a trailer with her son on the property of an american, seemingly rich couple and she also suffers from a genetic disorder that's making her more and more blind, which she tries to hide from the world, because she would lose her job at the factory and she wouldn't be able to do the things that she likes. The disorder runs in her family and because she doesn't want her son to become blind, she saves money for an operation. This is also the reason why she moved to America in the first place.
To escape from her hard life, she fantasizes about life being as a musical. In her spare time, she's also rehearsing for the part of Maria in a stage version of the Sound of Music.
When one evening, her landlord stops by at her trailer and tells her that he actually lost all of his money and that he has financial problems, but that he's to proud to tell his wife, because he's afraid she might leave him, Selma wants to comfort him by sharing her own problems and secrets and telling him about her approaching blindness and the operation for her son.
She underestimated the greed of humanity, though, and soon her naivety starts to have consequences...

The movie had a very clever script with a very original concept. Lars Von Trier knows perfectly how to mislead his own characters in a believable way, while the audience can only stand and watch at the tragedy that's developing on the screen. The music was also very beautiful and the fantastical musical scenes were absolutely gorgeous. The general atmosphere of the story, however, was very dark and intense. I rate this movie: