Reportedly the third in acclaimed director Lars von Trier’s “Golden Hearts” trilogy (preceded by Breaking the Waves and The Idiots), this film is a reworking of the classic Hollywood Musical, starring international pop diva Bjork. Set somewhere in rural Washington state, Czech immigrant Selma (Bjork) works in a pressing plant, struggling to make ends meet for herself and her 10-year-old son, Gene (Vladica Kostic). Her best friend is coworker and fellow European Kathy (Catherine Deneuve). While outside work, she is maintaining a cautious friendship with local yokel Jeff (Peter Stormare). She also landed a starring role as Maria in an amateur production of The Sound of Music. Selma’s life would be one of relative contentment if it were not for the ugly secret she harbors — she is on the verge of blindness due to a genetic disorder, and her young son will suffer the same fate without an operation. Selma has quietly been stashing away money for the surgery and has already amassed $2,000. When her savings, squirreled away in a can in the kitchen, suddenly disappear, she confronts her cash-strapped landlord Bill (David Morse). Of course, like all musicals, the plot periodically takes a backseat to the seven production numbers, including a show-stopping sequence in Selma’s factory. Shot entirely on digital video, the film reportedly used up to 100 cameras for each musical number.
Danish enfant terrible Lars von Trier has throughout his career made a habit of throwing ‘the cat amongst the pigeons’ of the European arthouse scene and beyond. As co-founder of the purist Dogme 95 movement, whose films were known for their bleak worldview and controversial subject matter, von Triers films have always thrived on the tension between chaos and control, where he’s sought to defy and disrupt what he regards as conformist norms of filmmaking. His deeply confrontational films – and his equally provocative public persona – have been both greatly admired and fervently debated and challenge audiences both emotionally and psychologically. His visually poetic cinema puts to celluloid a haunting, troubling vision of the human condition.
Cast: Björk, Catherine Deneuve, David Morse
Drama, Misdaad, MusicalLand: Denemarken
Speelduur: 140 minuten