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Breaking the Waves [Import]

Emily Watson , Stellan Skarsgård , Lars von Trier    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
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Product Description


Set in an unmercifully rugged, coastal village in Scotland in the 1970s, this extraordinary film by Lars von Trier stars British actress Emily Watson as a barely contained naive named Bess, who holds regular conversations with God and whose pure and intensely personal faith is hardly tolerated by the gruesome Calvinist elders of her church. Bess marries an oil-rig worker (Stellan Skarsgard) and comes to believe that erotic discovery is a part of God's grand plan. But after her spouse is hurt in an accident, she decides that divine instruction is leading her toward the life of a prostitute--with disastrous but somehow beautiful results. Von Trier (The Kingdom) has made a wonderful, entirely unexpected, and rigorous work of discovery in this film, with a formal visual design that recalls classic films by Carl Theodor Dreyer and Robert Bresson. Watson is a phenomenon, her wide-eyed wonder at the world as God's handiwork a breathtaking portrayal of conviction. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

New 4K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Selected-scene audio commentary featuring director Lars von Trier, editor Anders Refn, and location scout Anthony Dod Mantle. New interview with filmmaker and critic Stig Björkman.New interviews with actors Emily Watson and Stellan Skarsgård. Interview from 2004 with actor Adrian Rawlins.Watson’s audition tape, with commentary by von Trier.Deleted and extended scenes, with commentary by von Trier.Deleted scene featuring the late actor Katrin Cartlidge. Cannes Film Festival promotional clip, Trailer, New English subtitle translation, PLUS: An essay by critic David Sterritt .

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take Me To The Big Ship April 22 2004
There have been many great films made within the last ten years or so that could be described as "great cinema." Fargo, Pulp Fiction, Silence of the Lambs, Schindler's List, Goodfellas all come to my mind. As well as other overlooked (by the moviegoing public, anyway) or misunderstood gems like Heavenly Creatures, Hoop Dreams, Matewan, or Slacker. This film, however, is the best of them all. To put it another way, I think it's the best film of the 1990s.
In all my years as a cineaste and as a movie-goer, few films have affected me as profoundly as this film. Some of it is indeed 'disturbing' but only in the same sense that, say, the Gospels are disturbing.. telling us things we'd rather not hear and showing us images we'd rather not see... but things which make us wiser and more human. This film is about faith and love and hope, yes, but it is no feel-good movie of the week slop. It's a challenging film, which means that some may not enjoy it. As film critic Roger Ebert writes: "It has the kind of raw power, the kind of unshielded regard for the force of good and evil in the world, that we want to shy away from. It is easier sometimes to wrap ourselves in sentiment and pious platitudes."
It redefines our definition of sin and redemption and gives a vision of a righteous person that is probably more in line with what Jesus had in mind than any conservative church elders (like the ones in the film) are capable of conceptualizing. Rarely does a film come along that is as both spiritual and as morally complex as this one. It will alienate some viewers with it's frank sexuality, nudity, and it's devastating second act.
It's their loss.. and what a huge loss it is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I laughed out loud April 11 2004
Please do not get me wrong: Trier means most of the things he says with this movie: and he is propably one of the 9 greatest filmmakers in history. I am just not sure that people realize how much this movie is a rebellion against certain turgid, self - important elements in Danish culture. He uses clichès and sentimentality to express ideas that are quite complex and clever: and even passionate. Its something Danes usually do not admit to be, but are actually quite good at: just look at that other Danish catholic convert, Niels Steensen.
(Not that i am that much for Catholicism, but it does make for some fine stories).
Two minor points:
1): I know people might "blank it out" due to ingrained stereotypes ("Footlose" was a charming movie, but its theme mayhave become slightly, well, over - used?): Triers main villains are NOT the Presbytarians: he establishes their supiriority to id - driven types pretty early on in the movie (its the "liberated" types who end up killing the main character too, come to think of it).
2): no, the movie is not "misogynist": yes, she actually knows what shes doing. People do, sometimes: even women (though a lot of people seem not to think so).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful... June 18 2004
This film does NOT endorse what it depicts. Obviously, the memebers of the church are misguided, in fact a great deal of the film points that out. But the film is not about them, it is about Bess, and about her love for God and God's love for her. What happens to her in the movie is not God's torture of her, it is human free will being exercised on a pure spirit, and the beauty is how her spirit always remains pure. That is why God loves Bess. God does not sugarcoat the world, and all who wish to follow him go through trials. Bess made it through those trials, and this is, as such, a TRUE CHRISTIAN FILM.
Not to mention it is cinematically the best film I have ever seen, as Heilman says, it is transcends words and descriptions. Do not let any review scare you away, if you don't like graphic sex turn it off, but this is a film about the love God has for all the how beautiful a pure spirit is.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Power of Sickness Sept. 3 2007
Very gripping and persuasively acted. The girl's fervent conversations with herself, in which she plays the part of God, show the director's psychological insight. The personalities are subtly drawn. Von Trier captures brilliantly the atmosphere of his isolated, rigidly pious Scottish community.

But his own moralizing is also infected by Christianity. He elevates to sainthood a diseased and fanatical mind, he glorifies excess and simple-minded belief. The fact that much of the action takes place in hospitals is fitting, given the unhealthy nature of this sensibility.

Deep love and loyalty are good, but contrary to what is taught in von Trier's morality play, a self abasing, blind and clinging love, which clamps onto its object like a vice, is not good. The movie has a biblical feel to it, with its message of testing and redemption. There is no denying its power, but it's the power of sickness.
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4.0 out of 5 stars god blesses all you sinners Sept. 28 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Yes all devout Christians beware this film it may well shatter your illusions, throw another book on the pyre. The all-loving infallible god who slew the first born and condemned achievement of his beloved children at the tower of Babel. Oh merciful heaven, condone another three centuries of tyrannical witch trials. God loves you as he keeps you. Considering the intimacy of your relationship tell him i said Hi when you next converse.
P.s. oh and err.... don't eat from that tree
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars ALERT TO CHRISTIANS
I loved dancer in the dark. I found it to be one of the saddest, most beautiful films that i have ever seen. This led me to search out other films by Lars Von Treir. Read more
Published on June 11 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars So disappointing...
A long, slow study of life in a small northern Scottish town, ruled by the old men of the village's Calvinist kirk, as seen through the eyes of a village lass who appears to be... Read more
Published on April 28 2004 by J. A. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars von Tier's relentless tragedy about faith, loss, and love...
Bess McNeil (Emily Watson) is a naive woman who was brought up in an oppressive environment with patriarchal Christian believes where Christian rules are worshipped above all else. Read more
Published on April 26 2004 by Kim Anehall
The subject of this daringly emotional movie is faith, and it demands to be taken on. Von Trier's blurb on the DVD has him suggesting that this was a simple love story, but it... Read more
Published on April 13 2004 by Shashank Tripathi
5.0 out of 5 stars A Shocking and Unforgettable Parable of Love and Sacrifice
Child-like, devout, not quite right in the head, Bess gets married to Jan and is immensely happy. When he has to return to the oil rig where he works, she is devastated and prays... Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2004 by snalen
4.0 out of 5 stars Its a Wonderful Life, almost.
My first experience with Lars Von Trier was Dancer in the Dark which was intentionaly lacking in production values and minimalist acting. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2004 by Robin McDonald
3.0 out of 5 stars This movie was just terrible
this film is terrible. the camera movement is jerky and stuff. what up wit dat? yo, this movie is whack!
also, what's up wit da bells? man, I didn't understand dat at all. Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2004 by Samuel Tauloro
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Breathtaking
This movie reaches you on so many levels, it's hard to know where to start.
Bess, beautifully portrayed by Emily Watson, is a completely naive yet totally sexual human being... Read more
Published on Nov. 24 2003 by Dawn L. Cordova
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