Oct 12, 2008

Dancer in the Dark

Film director Lars von Trier was the product of a deranged childhood. Poor Lars was brought up as both a communist and nudist. Because of his "liberal" childhood, he hates the United States and makes films about his hatred of it. Dancer in the Dark is a film directed by Lars von Trier attacking evil American things such as money, the death penalty, and guns!

Lars von Trier has admitted that he is basically afraid of everything. He is afraid to visit the United States because he's afraid to fly on a plane. On his fears von Trier has stated, "Basically, I'm afraid of everything in life, except filmmaking." Sadly, Lars seems to even be afraid of filmmaking. As a member of the Dogme 95 collective, Lars prefers shooting films in a similar way that home videos are made. Dancer in the Dark, although not officially a Dogme 95 film, features home video style digital quality. It also features a wealth of childlike "zoom-in" and "zoom-outs" that would make the youngest child in a family feel proud.

The alien-like Björk stars in Dancer in the Dark as Czech immigrant named Selma who comes to the United States to obtain a better life. Her arrogant boss questions her about being a communist but shows her strength by acting with a certain peasant stoicism that bourgeoisie commies like Lars von Trier wish they had. Selma is close to being completely blind and wants to save her son from a similar burden. Selma seems to have a problem with daydreaming to the point of singing and dancing. She truly is a dancer in the very dark United States of the 1960s. With the peculiar facial expressions of Björk, it is no surprise that her character Selma seems to be a borderline schizophrenic.

Dancer in the Dark tackles all the type of things weakling liberal cosmopolitan college students claim to be fighting against. The film features crooked cops, fascist (and unjust) courts, guns that kill, male dominance, rural areas, and a complete lack of ever so wonderful multiculturalism. Seeing as the film takes place during the earlier half of the 1960s, so-called civil rights activists hadn't started burning down cities yet. Talk about injustice.

Dancer in the Dark, to be fair has it's moments. Björk's final song at the end of the film is about as climatic as films can get. Although the film is full of many banal moments and sometimes dubious fruitiness, Dancer in the Dark demands the attention of the viewer even if they don't want to give it. If one looks past Lars von Trier's predictable politics and sometimes half-ass filmmaking, Dancer in the Dark has it's artistic merits.

-Ty E

1 comment:

Keith said...

I had always wondered about this movie because of Björk. Never seen it though. Not sure now, that I still do. :-)