Denmark’s enfant terrible Lars Von Trier won the top prize of the Cannes Film Fest for “Dancer in the Dark,” a postmodernist, deconstructive movie musical, starring the singer Bjork, who deservedly won the acting kudos.
Original, disturbing, and rather grim, the musical melodrama, which is set in WashingtonState in the early 1960s, features Bjork as Selma Jezkova, a Czech immigrant who works in the local metal factory, while raising by herself her young son (Vladica Kostic).
Living a dreary life, Selma lives in a shabby caravan she rents from the town’s policeman Bill (David Morse). A lover of musicals, Selma bursts into song-and-dance as a form of escapism from her dreary life.
Fans of Von Trier admire the movie for its daring audacity, but his detractors are quick to point out elements of misogyny as well as strong thematic resemblance to “Breaking the Waves,” which also featured a doomed, child-like heroine (played by Emily Watson).
However, all critics agree that Bjork renders an astonishingly raw performance, not to mention great emotional singing, which is in complete congruent with the dark, drab and grim tone of the surrounding musical.