Criterion Collection: Breaking the Waves [Blu-ray + DVD]
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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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
(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).
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.Read more ›
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?
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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. Read morePublished on Sept. 3 2007 by Glen Koehn
Yes all devout Christians beware this film it may well shatter your illusions, throw another book on the pyre. Read morePublished on Sept. 28 2004 by craig barrow
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. Read morePublished on June 18 2004 by Nicholas F. Farina
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 morePublished on June 11 2004
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 morePublished on April 13 2004 by Nearly Nubile
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 morePublished on Feb. 19 2004 by snalen
My first experience with Lars Von Trier was Dancer in the Dark which was intentionaly lacking in production values and minimalist acting. Read morePublished on Jan. 26 2004 by Robin McDonald
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