Breaking The Waves (1996)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

Denmark/Sweden/France/ The Netherlands/Norway/Iceland, 1996, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .  Screenplay by Lars von Trier, .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

At the same time fascinating and repulsive, Lars Von Trier’s groundbreaking psychodrama is one of the most truly original films you’ll have the privilege to see. Set in a tiny conversative Calvinist village in Scotland, it stars Emily Watson (in the film that made her famous, though apparantly Von Trier originally offered it to Madonna) as a meek, slightly simple church cleaner who falls in love with and marries a Swedish oil rig worker ().  They are blissfully happy until he is seriously injured in a work-related accident and, confined to his bed and unable to move below the neck, he asks his wife in a fit of desperation to enjoy herself sexually with other men and relate her experiences back to him; what he does not know is how very strong her loyalty is, and how far she is willing to go in order to please him.  Startlingly upsetting, the film benefits from fantastic performances by all, particularly an eye-popping Watson, plus a freely-moving camera style that uses natural lighting and sound and gives the film a very real feel.   gives her best performance ever as Watson’s best friend and sister-in-law.

The Criterion Collection:  #705

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Actress (Emily Watson)

Cannes Film Festival Award:  Grand Jury Prize

European Film Awards:  Best European Film; Best European Actress (Emily Watson); FIPRESCI Prize

Golden Globe Award Nominations:  Best Picture-Drama; Best Actress-Drama (Emily Watson)

Toronto International Film Festival:  1996

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