Gotta Sing, Gotta Suffer

Lars von Trier's beloved martyr learns a new beat in Dancer in the Dark

Here, blindness is finally a fate worse than death. Given the comfort Selma draws from the Hollywood musical--and the director's tendency toward self-aggrandizement--her struggle could very well represent some metaphoric gloss on the radical filmmaker working in complacent times. Von Trier's heroic protagonist suffers so that her offspring can "see": see through vapid blockbusters, see through rampant consumerism to the magic of the Technicolor world. I am unconvinced, however, of the worth of both the suffering and the "radical" critique. And I'll remain so while von Trier torments his female subjects in a Grand Guignol no less conventionally ritualistic than Die Hard With a Vengeance. These women are dying for Lars's sins, not mine.

 

Magnificent obstruction: Björk in Dancer in the Dark
Magnificent obstruction: Björk in Dancer in the Dark

Dancer in the Dark starts Friday at the Uptown Theatre.

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