Breaking The Waves is a story about people and emotions. There is no good or
bad - only misunderstandings.
Very different from director Lars Von Trier's previous work, Breaking The Waves
follows the life of Bess (Emily Watson), an innocent young woman living in a tightly knit
community on Skye. She has led a sheltered life, protected by her family and her recently
widowed sister-in-law, but finds happiness when she meets Jan (Stellan Skarsgard), an
oil-rig worker. Despite local opposition, they marry and after a brief
but intense period
Jan returns to the rig. Bess however cannot cope with being apart and prays to God for Jan
to come back to her. Her wishes are cruelly answered when Jan suffers a terrible accident
on the rig and returns to Skye. Convinced he will be paralysed for the rest of his life,
he urges her to find another lover. However, the community feels she is sinning in the
eyes of God and she is abandoned and exiled. Even so, her faith leads her to believe that
a miracle can bring Jan back.
Breaking the Waves functions on many levels, the twin themes of love and faith
intertwining through most of the film. Bess' naiveté and innocence is touching, but at
odds with the real world we and the other characters in the film inhabit. Emily Watson
stepped into the key role of Bess and made the role her own after Helena Bonham Carter
pulled out. It was a difficult part to play but Watson manages to convey the determination
and resolve behind the apparently weak Bess.
In essence though, the film is carried by the windswept scenery and by Von
Trier's sheer audacity. Structured as a set of chapters, each part of the film is prefixed
by the most beautiful intertitles whilst surprisingly fitting seventies music plays in the
background; the cinematography of many of the sections is largely in contrast to this
(Mostly shot with a handheld camera, it is no suprise to find that the same team were
responsible for the surreal The Kingdom, often described as a cross between ER and Twin
Nothing though, can take away from the sheer self-belief which, like Bess, this
film carries; in the end you don't know whether to laugh or cry. One of the most heartfelt
releases of last year.
Runtime: 148 minutes
Review by Neil Chue Hong
Taken from EUFS Programme 1997-98
Copyright © 1995-1998 Edinburgh
University Film Society
"Hi! I study film in Australia at the moment, and I must say that 'Breaking the Waves"" is one of the best films I have ever seen and it captures the essentials of life totally!
Does Lars Von Trier has an e-mail address where it is possible to get in contact with
"Breaking the Waves is a film about the degradation of women through self-sacrifice. How can this be the ""true essentials of life"" as Lisa puts it?
Film Student from Auckland, NZ"
"It is THE best movie I have ever
seen.And now I don't know whether we're more perverse with or withouth
","Ich möchte mich bei Lars Von TRIER
bedanken.Was sonst könnte ich tun?ich bedanke mich,weil dieser film mir noch
einmal gezeigt hat,wasfür einen menschen ich bin,wie ich mich jahrelang vor den
anderen verhandelt habe und wie sie mich nicht verstanden haben.Dieser film
hetzt mich auf um mich mal endlich staerker zu verteidigen.Es gibt doch naemlich
überall solche bekannten,die nicht sehen können,was ihnen vor den augen steht
und solche wie Bess,wer ohne zu unterbrechen versu-chen sich mit diesen in einer
beziehung zu setzen.Das hat nichts zu tun,mit frau zu sein.ich bin naemlich mann.
deswegen glaube ich,dass man die bedeutung nicht so reduzieren kann,wie hier
gemacht worden ist.Eine solche naivitaet darf natürlich nicht verteigt
werden,aber man muss Bess als eine opferin der konservativen geselschaft und den
film als ein versuch,welcher den menschen vor den folgen warnt,nehmen.
DANKE Lars,DANKE Emily Istanbul,Türkei"
"Bene, esprimerò un solo giudizio: ""Fantastico"".
"This is quite simply the best film I have ever seen. Lars Von Trier has true insight into scotish island living in the 70's. A true representation of the ""wee free"" church. Emily Watson was perfect for the role. I have watched this film many times and will never grow tired of
From: "Jules DeSimone"
"Breaking the Waves is a miraculous film. A film partially driven by an uncanny performance by Emily Watson, and a narrative that trancends the formailty of structure and technique, Lars Von Trier has created something uniquely powerful and awe-inspiring. In making a film about the absolute purity of a woman's love, Von Trier has performed a miracle. One of the very few masterpieces in contemporary cinema, in my
From: "christel woods"
"It was a story of simple means simple characters that had extrodinary tale to
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