Dancer in the Dark

Search Movies

A groundbreaking "dark" musical by Danish director Lars von Trier -- groundbreaking, anyway, if you have forgotten about, or never knew about, The Threepenny Opera, Show Boat, Porgy and Bess, Carmen Jones, West Side Story, Oliver, Sweet Charity, Catch My Soul, Pennies from Heaven, One from the Heart, Newsies, Demy's Umbrellas of Cherbourg and A Room in Town, Resnais's Life Is a Bed of Roses and Same Old Song, etc., etc., never mind the much larger realm of the tawdry "backstage" musical -- about an immigrant factory worker in Washington State in the mid-Sixties (the movie, in actuality, was shot in Sweden), who is rapidly going blind and eventually going to the gallows. Von Trier reduces the degree of daring in the concept by limiting the musical outbursts to fantasies only. The first of these, suggesting itself to the woolgathering heroine through the rhythms of the factory around her (an old-hat idea), occurs forty-five minutes into the action. After which, they occur at more or less regular intervals of every fifteen minutes for the next hour, before tapering off through the final thirty or forty minutes. If you need help with your math, that's almost two-and-a-half hours total. The songs, written and sung by the Icelandic pop star Björk, are unmemorable and inelegant, though as an actress she boasts a cute accent (vague British overtones), an impish face, and an absolute freedom from vanity. The really punishing part of the movie, however, is not the intermittent musical element, but the unrelenting god-awful image, which looks generally as if the color had drained out the bottom and left behind a residue of soap scum and mildew. During the fantasy sequences, shot on blurry video, the color brightens up a bit, but it looks somehow as if it were pressed on top of the image and could flake off at the flick of a fingernail. Either way, the image is an eyesore, not even counting the optical sadism of the jump cuts and jittery camera. It almost arouses envy for the blind. Which is not the same thing as arousing empathy. Catherine Deneuve, David Morse, Peter Stormare. (2000) — Duncan Shepherd

Rated R


This movie is not currently in theaters.


Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs