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Criterion Collection: Breaking the Waves [Blu-ray + DVD]

4.0 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Emily Watson, Stellan Skarsgard, Katrin Cartlidge
  • Directors: Lars von Trier
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: April 15 2014
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,818 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

Lars Von Trier (Antichrist) became an international sensation with this galvanizing realist fable about sex and spiritual transcendence. Emily Watson (Punch-Drunk Love) stuns in an Oscar-nominated performance, as Bess - a simple, pious newlywed in a tiny Scottish village who gives herself up to a shocking form of martyrdom after her husband (Insomnia’s Stellan Skarsgård) is paralyzed in an oil-rig accident.

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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 able to hold conversations with God. And I mean sloooooow. At times fascinating and at times just frustrating, the story moves along at its own pace, broken into sections that are annoyingly introduced with still frame shots and titles.
The movie is at times beautiful and at times clearly an exercise in self-indulgence on the part of the director, Lars von Trier. What I found absolutely inexcuseable was the final, very final shot. Without giving the ending away, hearing the bells was beautiful. It was transcendant. It made up for the length and leisurely pace of the whole movie. But then von Trier spoiled all the goodwill he had just created with me by showing me the bells. Why? Oh, why? The ending ruined the movie. What, we're too dense to put two and two together and figure out for ourselves where the peels were coming from?
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Format: DVD
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. Nonetheless, Bess gets the Church elders approval, after some hesitation, to marry an outsider. This outsider is Jan Nyman (Stellan Skarsgård), an oil rig worker on the North Sea. Bess and Jan are so much in love that Bess declares her love for Jan in the bathroom of their reception by saying "You can love me now!", which leads to Bess loosing her virginity. This is the beginning of her sexual transformation as her love expands for Jan and in appreciation she thanks God for the gift of love that he has given her. However, the honeymoon must come to an end as Jan must return to the oil rig to earn a living. On the oil rig Jan is seriously injured in an accident, which leads the audience into a relentlessly tragic story about faith, loss, and love.
Breaking the Waves is broken up in different chapters and in between the chapters von Tier uses scenic shots that are artistically enhanced. These shots cue the audience on the upcoming chapter as it deals with different issues around Bess and Jan's relationship. The film is shot in a Dogma 95 style that von Tier introduced to the public in 1995, which adds to the realism of the story. In addition, the cast performs brilliantly as they help paint the true vision of Lars von Tier in a brilliant cinematic experience that some will love and some will hate as the story forces the audience to choose a side.
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