Breaking the Waves (1996)

"Breaking the Waves is a movie that broke the rules, exploding so many norms of mainstream cinema that its very existence—not to mention its vast popularity and critical acclaim—seems almost as astonishing as themiracle that gives the story its visionary ending. "
Breaking the Waves is the first and best film in Lars von Trier´s Golden Heart Trilogy (1998´s “The Idiots” and 2000´s “Dancer in the Dark” complete the trilogy), and his first film since signing the Dogme 95 pact with director Thomas Vinterberg. 

Despite opposition from the Calvinist community in which she lives, Bess (Emily Watson ) fall in love with stranger, oil-rig worker Jan (Skarsgård),  and  marries  him. 
For a brief time, the couple enjoys  wedding bliss, with Jan introducing Bess to the mysteries of sex,  but Jan must soon return to his job on the rig.
The days he returns to the rig she can not tolerate his absence, and her days consist of  praying for his return .
When he returns one day paralyzed by an accident  Bess life is to be changed forever .

Bess' emotional trauma turns into obsession and she prays to God for his recovery and offers to do anything to have her husband back whole.
 Distraught over his wife's sex life ending , Jan suggests she take lovers and describe her experience afterwards, so they might still enjoy sex through her talking. Bess consents reluctantly .

On one level, Lars von Trier’s masterpiece is a story of "amour fou" between a man and a woman whose blazing passion puts them instantly at odds with her puritanical community. It’s also a blistering critique of the repression and denial that faith-based moralizers confuse with principles and decency—and a penetrating exploration of the meaning of goodness in the modern world.

The epilogue of Breaking the Waves is impossible to describe—it must literally be seen to be believed—but it grows organically and coherently from everything that’s come before it, bringing the film to a bold and brilliant conclusion. First, it returns to the story’s main philosophical concern, pre­senting an inquest where the kindly Dr. Richardson is required to state his professional view of the psychological condition that led Bess to her doom. Earlier, he admits, he saw her as immature, unstable, obsessive, even psychotic. But in hindsight, his verdict is very different. “If you were to ask me again to write the conclusion,” he says, “then I might use a word like good.” That is clearly von Trier’s diagnosis as well, and after witnessing her story, we are likely to share it.
"Not many movies like this get made, because not many filmmakers are so bold, angry and defiant. Like many truly spiritual films, it will offend the Pharisees. Here we have a story that forces us to take sides, to ask what really is right and wrong in a universe that seems harsh and indifferent. Is religious belief only a consolation for our inescapable destination in the grave? Or can faith give the power to triumph over death and evil? Bess knows."

 Breaking the Waves Breaking the Rules


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