After watching this movie, me and my friends waited through the end of the credits, just to hear Bjork's lilting score. After the last credit rolled by, the theater turned on its standard top 40 radio station to break the silence until the next show. What instantly came on was N'Sync's "It's Gonna Be Me." We all instantly burst out laughing. The empty catchiness of the song was the complete opposite of what we were feeling from "Dancer in the Dark:" ambivalence, anguish, pain and discomfort. And we really needed N'Sync to relieve some of the stress that had built up in us from this beautiful, moving, and horrific film. So thank you N'Sync! Your inane vapidness finally came in handy.
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Bjork plays Selma, a Checkoslavakian immigrant in the 60s living in America (although almost everyone in this America seems to have a foreign accent). She has a congenital eye disorder which will make her completely blind within a few months. Her 13-year-old son is not far from the same fate, so Bjork is working tirelessly to make enough money to pay for the operation to cure him before it is too late.
Also, Selma is obsessed with musicals, and feels that the perfect life would be one where she is living in one. Ever so often, when she is daydreaming or slowly losing her grip on reality, her world becomes a musical and she is the star. The choreography is so-so, bu the music and the lyrics are enthralling.
I've only told you what you learn within the first 20 minutes of the film. From there on, things go from creepy to disturbing to excruciatingly dramatic. And laced within all this trauma is song and dance written brilliantly by Bjork.
As unsettling as this film was, there was one way in which it shouldn't have been. Selma is living in the 60s, has only seen musicals from the 40s and 50s, and doesn't know very much about the world in general. Yet somehow, in her fantasies, the music in post-modern new age techno. Its a discontinuity that can get slightly annoying, but not enough to prevent you from calling this film absolutely brilliant.
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