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Dark Like Blood

Dancer in the Dark

"The only think we ask of people is that they have a certain naïve openness--some
receptiveness for what we present on the screen" (Lumholdt 41).
Lars Von Trier, interviewed by Jan Kornum Larsen in 1984

 

Points of Reflection

Lars Von Trier's Dancer in the Dark (2000)

1. does Selma Jezkova manifest any less-than-laudatory characteristics, or is she virtue incarnate?  Is she a fully rendered, complex character, or does she appear to be without fault?

2. does the combination of Selma’s fecund imagination and love of music prove more a boon than a danger to this vision-impaired character?

3. why doesn’t Selma respond to Jeff’s overtures to be more than friends?

4. is Selma’s plan to save her son’s eyesight wholly selfless?

5. is Bill Houston an evil character?  Does Lars Von Trier make it easy to either detest or sympathize with Bill?

6. Lars Von Trier used around a hundred digital cameras to shoot the scene on the moving train.  Did the execution of this scene astound you, or did the plethora of angles confuse your understanding of what’s happening?

7. is violence in this film ever configured as an act of love?

8. Lars Von Trier hired the singer Björk to play Selma; does this directorial decision add power to her portrayal of Selma, or make it difficult for you to suspend your disbelief and enter fully into the world of the film?

9. had Selma successfully integrated into American, small-town life, prior to the crisis involving Bill?

10. does this film have a happy ending?


Mannequin (1926-27)
"Imperial Monument to the Child Woman" (1934)
oil on canvas
Salvador Dalí



Dr. Paul Marchbanks
pmarchba@calpoly.edu