Sunday, August 20, 2006

Dancer in the Dark [film]

Have you ever seen Dancer in the Dark? "The one starring Björk," is how a lot of people describe it. :D

(no spoilers)
It's the story of a woman, Selma, who dreams of being a dancer in a musical. She is from Czechloslovakia and is a single mother of a 12 year old boy. She works two jobs, one at a factory making ?sinks? and an at-home job putting pins into cards, one crate at a time. She's a dreamer but well loved by everyone. Thing is, she's going blind and won't tell anyone for fear of losing her job and place in a local production of "The Sound of Music". A LOT more happens but it'll spoil the film. The signature of it, though, is because Selma's so preoccupied with musicals, periodically, the sounds of things around her - the factory, a passing train, office scribbling - turn into a Bjorkish industrial musical piece, and everyone breaks into choreographed dance and sometimes help in the singing. Sounds weird but it actually works.

It was a compelling blend of documentary-feel camerawork, a story of humanity, a glimpse into a person's psyche and their view of the world as a musical (hence the musical moments)... Just... At first I thought it was kind of strange (the opening music bit with the never ending frames of random art splatters was wayy too long for me, but very much what musicals used to do), but the characters lives grabbed me. It was shot so intimmately with the hand-held camera work and the grainy film put it firmly in its era, making you really feel like you were back in the day (50's or so) - but still every shot was composed so beautifully... You knew when a musical bit was going to start because the camera became stock-still steady and the framing was super-composed, every single shot could be framed and hung on a wall. Colors and focus became sharper, too.

Be warned, though, as it is an extremely moving film toward the end. There is a violent scene (I dunno how bad - I didn't look) and a super sad segment. But just so artistically well done I am glad I saw it. :D

I thought the acting was very good - I liked Bjork's acting a lot, too. Not something I'd sit down and watch any day or often but if you're a film buff or want to see something new and different, then here you go. :)

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