January 04, 2004

Dancer in the Dark

dancerdark.jpgFrom the Danish director Lars von Trier and starring Icelandic singer Björk as a Czech woman who escaped to the Pacific Northwest with her young son in the 1960s. Björk's character is going blind, and as she loses her visual link to the real world she is more and more absorbed in her internal fantasy that she is living in a musical extravaganza. The musical numbers that result are surreal but sweet in a Bergmanesque sort of way. Their dreamlike quality is enhanced by von Trier's use of 100 fixed digital video cameras throughout the set to catch the action simultaneously from as many angles in a single (or a couple) takes. The scenes have a strange omniscient (or polyniscient) feel that is unique in my cinematic experience. Not sure I like it, but it's definitely interesting and von Trier does a good job of making it work within the sense of the movie. Despite the peppy musical numbers, this is a very dark movie with nothing even vaguely resembling a happy ending. I found that the immediacy of the digital video approach worked well to immerse me in the world of the film such that I found myself having personal emotional responses to the events depicted much more than I have from other films. It made me feel stuff vs. feeling that the people in the movies were feeling stuff, if you see what I mean. Weird. Dark. Good.

The DVD has a very interesting featurette showing how the 100 camera setup was used to film the musical numbers. There's also a couple of commentary tracks which we did not view.

Posted by jeffy at January 4, 2004 02:03 PM
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