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Dancer in the Dark Reviews

Page 1 of 209
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

February 19, 2009
It's like a Raymond Carver short story written by Ingmar Bergman, and directed occasionally by Baz Luhrman. Plus, it stars Bjork. Weird, wonderful slice of life story, a truly original film about characters on the margins trying to succeed on their own terms. Like nothing I've ever seen before.
paul o.
paul o.

Super Reviewer

September 8, 2012
Its a different type of musical. Von Trier finds an all star cast from Bjork to Peter Stormare and creates a dark and depressing piece of cinema. The dead silence of some scenes are bleak but its the musical scores that helps carry the film.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

December 14, 2011
A devastating, soul-crushing take on the justice system concerning a blind immigrant (Bjork), who gets by as a machine-worker by day and a theater performer by night, who is exploited by some people she is closest to in 1964 Washington. This film is a full mixed-bag, as director Lars von Trier occasionally gets too self-righteous in his damning of America and its inhabitants, but the film still succeeds largely to Bjork's moving, incredibly realized performance, as well as a final 20 minutes that packs a devastating, tear-filled blow to the heart. Kudos to von Trier for inserting the "musical" aspect to this film in very clever ways, which gives a much-needed boost of life and energy to a very depressing and downbeat film. Be warned though, the end will make you weep like a baby.
Matheus C

Super Reviewer

August 9, 2011
Selma (Björk) é uma jovem imigrante da Tchecoslováquia que se mudou para os Estados Unidos com o propósito de criar seu filho Gene (Vladica Kostic). Vivendo uma vida de pobreza, Selma trabalha em uma fábrica de esmaltados junto de sua melhor amiga Kathy (Catherine Deneuve) e vive em uma pequena casa alugada no quintal do policial Bill Houston (David Morse) e de sua esposa Linda (Cara Seymour). Desde pequena, Selma tem uma fascinação por musicais americanos, sendo que diversas vezes enquanto trabalha ela imagina fazer parte de um. No momento, ela se prepara para representar Maria em uma montagem de A Noviça Rebelde. Infelizmente para Selma, se torna cada vez mais difícil operar as máquinas da fábrica e ensaiar seus passos de dança, pois ela possui uma doença degenerativa hereditária que a torna graduadamente cega. Sua amiga Kathy é a única que sabe deste fato, e faz o possível para ajudá-la. Em um momento de fraqueza, seu vizinho Bill lhe confidencia que está falido e que não tem coragem de contá-lo à esposa. Selma então revela que têm economizado dinheiro durante anos para uma cirurgia que seu filho deve fazer para que não fique cego como ela.

Para aqueles que não assistiram ao filme, este é o máximo que se deve ler a respeito de seu enredo. Mas, apenas por tais pontos narrativos, não é difícil prever que Dançando no Escuro se trata de um dos grandes melodramas já colocados na tela. Este motivo pode ter afastado alguns espectadores mais cínicos, mas para aqueles que souberem abraçá-lo, o filme pode se tornar uma experiência difícil de ser esquecida. Para que isto ocorra, é necessário desde o início acreditar na história e no universo que Lars von Trier apresenta diante de seu espectador. Um mundo povoado por pessoas frias e traiçoeiras, onde situações trágicas são levadas ao extremo. Tendo em mente as intenções do diretor, é possível se deixar levar mais facilmente pela história da infeliz Selma, mesmo estando ciente das desavergonhadas tentativas de manipular o espectador.

Dançando no Escuro é carregado pela muito comentada atuação da cantora Björk, que devido aos seus desentendimentos com Trier e o cansaço gerado pela produção, jurou nunca mais aparecer em outro filme. Björk também escreveu as canções do filme, das quais ela interpreta todas. Apesar de não ser grande fã do estilo da cantora, não posso negar seu talento como atriz iniciante. Nas mãos de Lars von Trier, Björk acaba se tornando o maior instrumento utilizado pelo diretor para manipular a platéia, como se muitas vezes ele estivesse implorando para que esta se emocionasse. Não basta Selma ser cega, ter um filho fadado ao mesmo destino e não ter dinheiro nem para lhe comprar uma bicicleta no aniversário: ela tem que ser interpretada com uma inocência e pureza quase infantil, que às vezes nos levam a perguntar se seus problemas vão além da cegueira. Assim como a personagem Grace do superior Dogville, Selma se encontra em um mundo vil repleto de pessoas de caráter desprezível, com ela sendo a única totalmente inocente.

Um dos motivos dos filmes de Lars von Trier não serem tão recebidos em terras norte-americanas é seu explícito desgosto pela terra do tio Sam. Em Dançando no Escuro podemos ver isto com clareza: Selma é uma imigrante de alma pura que vai aos EUA a procura de oportunidades, mas tudo o que encontra é pobreza e hostilidade. Seus únicos amigos e as únicas pessoas que não a traem (interpretados por Catherine Deneuve e Peter Stormare) também são estrangeiros. Enquanto isso, o policial local interpretado por David Morse é o catalisador de suas desgraças, enfatizadas pela crueldade com que as autoridades americanas a tratam. É interessante que, o único momento em que vemos uma bandeira americana no filme (que, apesar de se passar no estado de Washington, foi filmado na Suécia) é após um evento que sinaliza o início da queda de Selma.

Lars von Trier foi um dos idealizadores do movimento Dogma95, e Dançando no Escuro nos possibilita ver em prática algumas das técnicas pregadas pelo diretor. Em uma decisão corajosa, Trier rodou o filme utilizando câmeras digitais manipuladas à mão, fazendo uso de uma paleta de cores arrastadas e iluminação natural. O tom melancólico é acentuado pelo discreto uso do som, a edição picotada e a oscilação da câmera. Quando Selma tem seus devaneios e vemos os números musicais como ocorrem em sua mente, o filme passa a utilizar planos geralmente estáticos onde as cores explodem na tela remetendo aos musicais em Technicolor da MGM filmados nos anos 40 e 50. Os números musicais também são inspirados nos clássicos da mesma época, com figurantes se unindo em grandes coreografias.

Vale notar que Dançando no Escuro foi lançado um ano antes do grande retorno dos musicais com Moulin Rouge. O diretor parece estar ciente de que muitos dos espectadores possam não estar preparados para o formato musical - tanto que, em um momento de auto-sátira, o personagem de Peter Stomare diz não entender o fascínio de Selma por musicais, pois as pessoas simplesmente saem dançando e cantando, algo que não acontece na vida real. Trier controla o "problema" encenando todos os números musicais na mente da personagem, artifício que seria repetido em Chicago. De fato, seria difícil acreditar que os interlúdios musicais de Björk fizessem parte do mesmo mundo sombrio e tenebroso do qual sua personagem vive. Um mundo que pode ser tão difícil para o espectador vivenciar quanto para os próprios personagens, mas que ao final se mostra uma experiência difícil de ser replicada - para o bem ou para o mal.
Jan Marc M

Super Reviewer

September 10, 2011
Dancer In The Dark is a drama musical tackling oppression, injustice, and sacrifice. An engaging and compelling story that evokes sympathy and hate, Dancer In The Dark is darkly sweet and sinisterly lovely with an award-winning performance from the exquisite Björk. A gentle but sharp strum on the heartstrings. An affirmation to the possibilities of cinema.
hunterjt13
hunterjt13

Super Reviewer

June 24, 2011
A Czech immigrant who is slowly going blind is accused of stealing from and murdering her neighbor.
Much of the film is shot in the style typical for a Lars von Trier movie with grainy handhelds, quick zooms, and a camera that bounces from speaking character to speaking character like a tennis match. I found much of this unsettling in a bad way. Whereas von Trier's camerawork in Breaking the Waves often echoed the turmoil of the characters and situations, in Dancer in the Dark there is a serenity to Selma that we don't see in Emily Watson's character.
All of this ends during the musical sequences that are shot in the style of classic Hollywood, complete with fantastical dance numbers and Bjork vocalizing to her heart's content.
This convergence of styles works by and large, but only on a thematic level. I found myself so annoyed by the style of the dramatic sequences that I was hoping for a musical number, and then when I tired of Bjork's singing, I was relieved to be returned to the grainy film that I was just released from.
The plot is rather pedestrian, and everybody knows how depressing the ending is going to be by at least the forty-fifth minute. There is a degree to which this film is emotionally manipulative, but I also found myself sympathizing with Selma enough to wish for some unrealistic deus ex machnia.
Additionally, Bjork, from whom I wasn't expecting much, turns in a compelling performance. Her smile is guileless and innocent, and in the few moments of happiness that the film's story allows her, she lights up the screen. She makes the final sequence heart-wrenching.
Overall, fans of Bjork, slitting their own wrists, and Lars von Trier will find a lot to like about this film.
Drew S

Super Reviewer

February 5, 2007
My von Trier teacher told us all right before he screened Dancer in the Dark that he had qualms with how the film was so manipulative in attaining its end result. As a sort of pastiche of/homage to melodrama, it absolutely is, reappropriating every cliche it could possibly get its hands on, churning them through an intensely bleak cinematographic ringer, and then punctuating them with bright and vivid musical numbers that only seem to make the movie bleaker still. Of course it's melodramatic. It's supposed to be. And I fear the day that something so perversely painful yet so sharply captured won't be able to make me feel something, because it will mean that I have ruined the form for myself through means of never letting it manipulate me.
TomBowler
TomBowler

Super Reviewer

July 17, 2010
Emotionally devisating. Full review later.
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

March 30, 2010
Björk is astonishing in a surprisingly powerful performance while both acting and singing in this unusual musical tragedy directed by von Trier. A grim, lacerating and difficult film to watch, but still incredibly thought-provoking and emotionally compelling.
flixsterman
flixsterman

Super Reviewer

January 5, 2009
Bjork, an Icelander, plays a young Czech woman who has immigrated to the United States in hope of a better life for herself and her son. A most unconventional film. One that draws from old styles yet remains avant garde. Sad and utterly mesmerizing.
arashxak
arashxak

Super Reviewer

November 26, 2009
"Lars von Trier is a mechanic, not an artist. And his movies are meat grinders he feeds his characters through"
I kind of agree with this statement and overall the film's approach is too simplistic, naive & shallow that it even fails to work as a simple tear-jerker, Stormare & Morse are great as usual
DragonEyeMorrison
DragonEyeMorrison

Super Reviewer

September 9, 2007
All right, i guess i should write a proper review for this, and in the process maybe explain a bit why this was reason enough to avoid any movies by this director for life. Spoilers ahead, but trust me, you'll thank me later.

So, Bjorks character comes to "AMERICA" and gets a shitty job in a shitty factory. She's poor and lives alone with her son, she's going blind and she also seems to have some kind of mental disorder, because she imagines people dancing like if it was some old hollywood musical. Ah yes, this is the movie telling you that she's "escaping reality" into a (dumb) fantasy world. Her love for this shitty dancing musical world causes her to make a mistake with a machine in the factory and get her stupid blind ass fired. Now she won't have enough money to pay for a future operation for his son, to prevent him going blind (and hopefully becoming an idiot just like her) but oh noes! Turns out that her evil american friends, one of them that is, steal her money. Some confussion and other very fucking stupid plot devices make her go to jail for killing the evil american that stole her money.

So she has to go to a trial, while going even more blind, and still dreaming of her silly musical numbers. Some more dumb shit happens because, again, she's a poor hopeless soul living in the EVIL UNITED STATES OF FACISTMERICA where she gets accused of being a commie and what not (this is USA in the 60s i think) One of her non-evil american friends want to get her a lawyer but Bjork/Selma, being as stupid as she is, refuses any help. She gets hanged, cue to another awful song and the end.

See? I told you i was going to save you time and probably money. The director of this nonesense, some douche that calls himself "Von", has this childish and one-dimensional view that the USA is the biggest source of evil this world has ever seen. That everything going on there fucks up their poor citizens, specially women, or foreigners. He's like a 18 year old collegue student who read too many Marx and Voltaire and thinks he just found out the "real true" about the world. Idiotic political agenda aside, this is a cinematic exercise in painful boredom, crap-tistic "sensibilities" and lots of naked emperor crap going on. Characters are made of cheap cardboard and the story wouldn't even get approved for an episode of Grey's Anatomy. I guess movies like this need to exist in order to......actually, i have no idea. All this said, what a waste of such a good support cast. Oh yeah, Bjork should never, ever, be in a movie for the rest of her life.
LorenzoVonMatterhorn
LorenzoVonMatterhorn

Super Reviewer

January 16, 2009
"They say it's the last song. They don't know us, you see. It's only the last song if we let it be."

An east European girl goes to America with her young son, expecting it to be like a Hollywood film.

REVIEW
Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier's daring, `Dogma'-tic depiction of sacrificial lamb in the form of going-blind, single mother/factory worker Czech immigrant Selma Jezkova (Iclandic pop singer Bjork in an outstanding, memorable film debut - and reputedly last time on the silver screen) circa 1950s Washington state, borderlines misogynistic sadism and placating the adage of ignorance being bliss in this tragic quasi musical. > Riveting and maddening at the same time (largely thanks to the audacity to jump to haunting musical moments out of nowhere) it is unique in its deliverance of a semi-innocent character that one feels needs some type of protection from her doom and a righteous anger as the script betrays her along the way. Fantastic use of film stock color depletion/enhancement (the latter during the musical moments) by cinematographer Robby Muller and von Trier (employing over 100 digital cameras) gives the fairy tale quality a punch of surreality. Deneuve gives another beautiful performance as Selma's best friend and co-worker who tries to keep her charge from harm. Operatic and Greek tragedy in delivery with some humor sprinkled makes for a cringe-worthy, throat constricting time by the film's heartbreaking climax and unmistakably memorable ending that will haunt you long after viewing. Tough to watch; impossible not to.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 2, 2009
I didn't know this was a musical before I watched it and so when the Dogma style of filming was interrupted suddenly with a song I was both shocked and exhilarated. Lars von Trier got kicked out of his own gang in true style with this one (Well, technically he did with Breaking the Waves, but this one was the final straw). The cast is unlikely but brilliant, the songs are wonderful and the story is typically bleak and beautiful, what Von Trier does best. Another misunderstood and underrated masterpiece.
SilentWarProductions2009
December 3, 2006
Directed by: Lars Von Trier.
Starring: Bjork, Catherine Deneuve, David Morse, Peter Stormare.

<< "You know, when I used to work in the factory, I used to dream that I was in a musical...because in a musical, nothing dreadful ever happens." >>

Full review coming soon.

97/100
Leigh R

Super Reviewer

November 9, 2006
Really good.
RCCLBC
RCCLBC

Super Reviewer

March 17, 2008
Gut wrenching, heartbreaking and truly moving.

Bjork's performance is sublime and La Deneuve is just beautiful as her dowdy best friend.

My kind of musical.
Jennifer X

Super Reviewer

September 4, 2007
There is not one thing I like about this monstrosity. The drunk cameraman drove me crazy.
Keysha H

Super Reviewer

August 31, 2007
It makes me cry like a child but I love this film!
Page 1 of 209
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