Monday, September 04, 2006


From the Archives: 5/13/2005

Love story of the week:

Danish movie director (don't worry, the film is in english), Lars von Trier makes films that are sometimes difficult to watch. Why? They are very unconventional. People don't generally like unusual films, they like the comfort of conformity. You don't have to think as much, and thinking is too much like working. Many people don't like to work too hard at watching a movie, they just want to be entertained. Another reason is that he tends to be minimalistic in his sets and backgrounds. Two good examples are his recent Dear Wendy, which takes place on a small downtown street which seems to have about as much expanse as Main St. in Pleasantville; and Dogville, which was litterally filmed entirely on a sound stage, with painted outlines of houses.

Lars von Trier is the founder of what's called the Dogma 95 movement in film-making. This movement urges film makers to shun special effects and other artificial components, and concentrate more on story-telling and the performances of your actors. He proposed 10 rules (known as the Vow of Chastity), listed at the link above, to be used as guidelines for a good Dogma film.

BREAKING THE WAVES, by Lars von Trier, is considered the first of the Dogma movies. The footage is sometimes grainy, the images stark, and there's no upbeat soundtrack. The story and the performances however, are spectacular. This was Emily Watson's first movie role. You may remember her from such films as Angela's Ashes and Punch Drunk Love. She got an Oscar nomination for this role. Many people believed she deserved to get it but was passed over because the academy perceived the film as "dark". So do I.

I called it the "love story of the week". It is primarily a story about love and also about faith. This is probably the most devistatingly emotional film you'll ever see. It is NOT however, a tearjerker. Far from it. You can check the link above to see a synopsis of the plot but it won't tell you what the "movie is like". I can't tell you weather or not you will like this movie. You will love it or you will hate - probably nothing in between. It will either be the best movie you've seen in ages, or you'll watch it and say, "Good God! What the hell was that?!! I couldn't make heads nor tails of it!" All I can say is that it has garnered much critical acclaim, and that I liked it. Film critic, Roger Ebert liked it too. You can find his review at the link below.


Film Critic Roger Ebert's review of BREAKING THE WAVES.


At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen this movie a couple of times, they play it on IFC a lot. It is a very hard film to watch, Emily Watson's character make so many bad disicions in the name of love that, by the end, you don't kow how to feel about her, you just feel sad and frustrated. It's worth seeing though, if only for the really interesting direction and cinematography. But it's not going to be anything you rush out to tell your friends about.

At 11:11 PM, Blogger FranksFilms said...

On the contrary, I'm telling all you about it. I didn't say it was an easy film to watch. That doesn't mean you shouldn't make the effort. it's ceratainly worthwhile, if for no other reason than Emily Watson's performance.


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