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12,118 Ratings

Dancer in the Dark

Directed by Lars von Trier
Denmark, Argentina, 2000
Musical, Drama, History


A Czech immigrant (played by Björk who won the Best Actress prize at Cannes for her devastating performance) copes with her encroaching blindness by escaping into musical fantasies.

Our take

This is the ultimate post-modern musical, featuring the award-winning, final acting role of Icelandic experimental pop chanteuse Björk. Lars von Trier exploited the brilliant naïve energy of his star by casting her in his overpowering tearjerker-vérité-musical—and took home the Palme d’or in Cannes.

Dancer in the Dark Directed by Lars von Trier

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

2000 | 2 wins including: Palme d'Or

Academy Awards

2001 | Nominee: Best Music, Original Song

Independent Spirit Awards

2001 | Winner: Best Foreign Film

Having rarely been an admirer of von Trier’s work since The Element of Crime (1984), I too have sometimes been willing to think the worst of his intentions. But Dancer in the Dark seems to me self-evidently a serious, carefully thought-out film, and by the far his best. It only half works, but that successful half is enought to elevate it to the rank of an essential movie experience.
December 01, 2000
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[Breaking the Waves’] fatuous theological aspects (complete with deus ex machina) have been jettisoned in favor of high-octane melodrama; unlike Bess, Selma takes full responsibility for her actions, making her plight that much more heartbreaking. In an era dominated by irony and cynicism, it’s both startling and invigorating to see a movie—particularly an “art movie”—that tugs so relentlessly and violently at the viewer’s heartstrings. Some will no doubt rebel. My advice: Surrender yourself.
October 01, 2000
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Lars von Trier makes movies out of marzipan, and if our multinational supervisors have their way, we may not have any other kind to see or live in—full of sound, fury, and emotion and instantly disposable. The man’s a fucking seer, and Dancer in the Dark shows us the way.
October 27, 2000
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