Friday, December 02, 2011

126 - Dancer In The Dark (2000)

DVD Box
Dancer In The Dark tells of Selma, a lady who is going blind who is trying to pay for her son's operation.

Shy and retiring Selma (Björk) loves musicals. With her sight slowly getting worse due to a hereditary disease she makes the most of all of the sound around her to transport her to her own private fantasies.

This often gets her into trouble at work as her daydreaming leaves her accident prone in charge of machinery. Much of her work money goes towards saving for an operation for her son to cure him of the imminent blindness.

Her police officer landlord has financial trouble himself and when he finds Selma hiding the large sum of money he takes it, forcing Selma to make a life or death decision for the both of them.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
So, Dancer In The Dark. It's an oddball. But that doesn't make it a bad film. In fact, it's rather good. In truth, after the ending credits rolled I looked back on a powerful but poignant Danish melodrama that was both heart-wrenching and amusing.

OK, so yes, it is a little bizarre. Despite being a renowned Icelandic singer Björk sounds more croaky than Kermit's aphasic grandfather but this change in voice adds to the atmosphere and her Eastern European accent is both authentic and believable. She even acknowledges the condition of her character and embraces it in her acting to bring Selma alive during the fantasy scenes.

I'm not a big fan of the songs that enable this film to be classed as a musical but I can appreciate the reason for them being there. The real storyline substance is in Selma's dilemma and this is what should be applauded rather than any criticism of the songs. If you want to see a true musical, watch The Sound of Music - the film that is rehearsed by Selma.

Sure, some people will dislike the bizarre themes, but it is strangely compelling and leaves you wanting more.

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