Danish director Lars von Trier ("The Idiots", "Breaking the Waves"), winner of this year's 'Palme d'or' for his latest film "Dancer in the Dark", brings us an exhilarating and emotional musical drama which once again pushes the limits of modern film-making.
The 'enfant terrible' of cinema and infamous for his controversial films ("The Idiots" was banned in Ireland for 'obscene and indecent material') von Trier tells the story of Selma (Björk) a Czech immigrant and single mother living in 1960s America. Selma works day and night in a factory to save enough money to pay for an operation for her son, Gene (Vladica Kostic), to avoid him inheriting the same fate as her (she suffers from an eye disease which is reducing her to permanent blindness).
Her only salvation is her passion for Hollywood musicals, which she fantasises performing in to escape the daily grind of work. It is these illusional periods that give colour to Selma's grey life and give her the strength to carry on despite her increasingly deteriorating eyesight. After an unfortunate incident with her neighbour which ultimately leads to murder, Selma is left to face tragic consequences.
The fascinating thing about this film is it is almost as if the audience is treated to two movies - one, a hand-held documentary melodrama, the other an all-singing, all-dancing Hollywood musical shot in vibrant Technicolor-style. It is difficult to combine these extreme styles but von Trier 's creativity pulls this off.
Björk's cinematic debut, won her 'best actress' at Cannes and is rightly deserved. Originally she was booked just to write the film's soundtrack but also took on the challenge of playing the lead, which seems as though it was written for her.
Overall a film about disability and achievement despite injustice with many moving and heartfelt scenes, if you can cope with the burst of a song or two.
Read a review of the DVD.
Visit the official "Dancer in the Dark website" website