Breaking the Waves

A breakthrough feature (1996) by Lars von Trier, the postmodernist Danish director of The Element of Crime, Zentropa, and The Kingdom. Set on the remote north coast of Scotland in the early 70s, this all-stops-out melodrama concerns a naive young woman (Emily Watson in a galvanizing performance) who marries a worldly oil-rig worker (Stellan Skårsgard) despite opposition from her tightly knit Calvinist community. After being paralyzed by an explosion, he persuades her to find a lover and describe her sexual experiences to him. Shot by the great Robby Müller, the film shifts powerfully between dizzying handheld footage (given an unusual texture by having been transferred to video and then back to film) and gorgeous, digitally doctored “chapter headings” that linger meditatively over landscapes to the accompaniment of period pop songs. Improbably combining elements from Carl Dreyer and Federico Fellini, this 159-minute feature shamelessly pushes the audience's emotions to the breaking point. You won't come out of it indifferent, and even if it winds up enraging you (I could have done without most of the ending myself), it nonetheless commands attention.

Show Times

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Breaking the Waves

Add a review

Rating

Select a star to rate.