Dogme’s test run

Rating: NNNNNBREAKING THE WAVES (Lars von Trier, 1996) recasts romance according to von Trier's exacting standards. In a remote Scottish.


Rating: NNNNN


BREAKING THE WAVES (Lars von Trier, 1996) recasts romance according to von Trier’s exacting standards. In a remote Scottish village, Bess marries Jan. Jan asks the impossible. Bess does it. As Emily Watson plays her, Bess is a god-animal — acting on feral instinct but guided by a higher power. Watson and Stellan Skarsgård, as her husband, turn in career-best performances. It’s as if von Trier’s raging, balls-out style frees them to do things they’d never try for any other director. After a few earlier excursions in radical style, von Trier set out on a mission to “force the truth out of my characters and settings.” Breaking The Waves served as a test run for the list of showy rules known as Dogme 95. It’s not a pure Dogme film — check the Elton John interlude! — but it was a start. And as a female sacrifice movie, it’s far more successful than Dancer In The Dark. NNNNN (December 20-21, Royal)

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