Breaking the Waves | Denver Film Society | Lars von Trier | Denmark

Breaking the Waves

Lars von Trier

EnglishDenmark1996159 min

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Overview

In a small, austere community of Protestant Calvinists on the northwest coast of Scotland in the 1970s, the elders forbid church bells, tell sinners they'll be condemned to hell when they die—and object to the marriage of shy, romantic and deeply religious young Bess (Emily Watson) to an outsider, rugged oilrig worker Jan (Stellan Skarsgård). Their life together is blissful nevertheless—until, that is, an explosion injures Jan on the job and he's left paralyzed from the neck down, confined to a hospital bed. Blaming herself for praying to God that he'd come home to her, Bess accepts Jan's conviction that she will aid his recovery if she has sex with other men and relates her experiences to him. But her own belief that she's doing God's work will not be shared nor tolerated by the only community she's ever known.

Danish auteur Lars von Trier garnered numerous international awards—including the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival—for his 1996 masterpiece. So did Watson, whose extraordinary performance as a naïf who talks to God earned her Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations, among many others. Although shot to undercut the picturesque aspects of the setting, Breaking the Waves beautifully captures the atmosphere of a village where time stands still. The devastating exploration of faith and sacrifice is also one of the most remarkable love stories you'll ever see.

Producer: Peter Aalbæk Jensen, Vibeke Windeløv | Editor: Anders Refn | Cinematographer: Robby Müller | Screenwriter: Lars von Trier
Cast: Emily Watson, Stellan Skarsgård, Katrin Cartlidge, Jean-Marc Barr, Adrian Rawlins, Jonathan Hackett

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