Q: What do you get when you cross a murder, a musical, death row and Denmark?
A: Dancer in the Dark an excellent movie, but that kind of excellent movie that you just don’t need to watch.
I do not know if what made this movie so good was Bjork’s amazing acting or her ice thawing singing. But from start to finish in a thoroughly chilling way playing Selma the deranged, beautiful, totally out for lunch, artistic and loyal solo mum, she was nothing short of awesome. Catherine Deneuve playing her faithful friend and Aunt was also superb.
The movie is based in Washington, USA and but was filmed in Denmark and totally lacked the standard European racism toward Americans.
Selma was a young romantic immigrant artistic mother. She worked in a factory making sinks; her two passions in life were dancing and saving for her son’s eye operation. It just so as happens that her neighbour/landlord decides that he wants the money more. In desperation and confusement after being provoked the now almost blind Selma kills him.
It seemed like everyone was so nice to Selma, everyone seemed to want to help her. But in what I would describe in a totally Eastern European stubborn way she was unable to accept the hand that was feeding her. With a softer honest heart she could have saved herself, but she couldn’t drop her communist legacy and trust. Trust in her friends, the healthcare system (pre Clinton) or the court system. Her lack of trust killed her.
The movie starts with five minutes of silent abstract art and finishes rather abstractly with a gallows scene that will be screaming around in my head for quite some time.
If the movie wasn’t already weird and disturbing enough, well following Selma’s fantasy life was. She was obsessed with musicals. It seemed like every time the movie peaked and climaxed as it often did, she would disappear into her fantasy world. Then we would be subject to Grease like scenes of Selma and who ever she was with dancing and singing. They were both excruciatingly painful and brilliant. Bjork has a wonderful voice, but you couldn’t hear her due to the anticipation of not knowing what horror was waiting at the end of her fantasy.
This is a movie that you just have not to watch. Don’t miss it, don’t invite your friends to watch it with you and don’t watch it alone. It is weird, way left of centre but excellent. 15 out of 10.