Dancer in the Dark

Rated 2.0 Pop singer Björk (who also wrote the film’s hypnotically atonal songs) plays an immigrant factory worker going slowly blind and hoping to save her son from the same fate—while finding escape in fantasies from Hollywood musicals (writer/director Lars von Trier cribs his theme from Dennis Potter’s Pennies From Heaven). Marginally better than von Trier’s alleged masterpiece Breaking the Waves (but not nearly as funny), the film again confuses simpering imbecility with saintly innocence. For a director obsessed with “realism” (i.e., swinging the camera wildly back and forth between his actors’ out-of-focus noses), von Trier is surprisingly adept at staging the film’s musical numbers, which are infectiously rhythmic and expertly danced. The film won both cheers and hisses at Cannes this year, and best actress for Björk.