Director: Lars von Trier Starring: Björk, Catherine Deneuve, David Morse Running time: 140 mins
Subject: Selma Jezkova (Björk) is a Czech in America squirrelling away every dollar for an operation that will save her son from hereditary blindness. As the film opens this blindness is starting to consume her, threatening her work (in a factory) and her joy (amdram musicals). Several strokes of nightmarish luck later and such everyday hardship seems enviable. The powerful strangeness of Björk’s singing voice occasionally and intentionally provides a sideways step on what is otherwise a steep downward drop. Melodramatically punishing.
Like: Kafka, the opera.
Core truth: “I always wanted to be in a musical because in a musical nothing dreadful ever happens.” Dream on, love. You’re in a Von Trier flick.