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NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND

  And, indeed, I will ask on my own account here, an idle question: which is better—cheap happiness or exalted sufferings? Well, which is better?---Fyodor Dostoevsky ---Notes from Underground There are certain people of whom it is difficult to say anything which will at once throw them into relief—in other words, describe them graphically in their typical characteristics. These are they who are generally known as “commonplace people,” and this class comprises, of course, the immense majority of mankind. Authors, as a rule, attempt to select and portray types rarely met with in their entirety, but these types are nevertheless more real than real life itself. For instance, when the whole essence of an ordinary person’s nature lies in his perpetual and unchangeable commonplaceness; and when in spite of all his endeavours to do something out of the common, this person ends, eventually, by remaining in his unbroken line of routine—. I think such an individual really does become a type of hi

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."
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/breaking-the-waves-1996

 Breaking the Waves Breaking the Rules
http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/3130-breaking-the-waves-breaking-the-rules









ROBBY MÜLLER CINEMATOGRAPHER >>>


















































Melancholia (2011)




Lars von Trier's "Melancholia" opens with music from Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde," mourning and apocalyptic, and disturbing images of a world not right. A woman dressed as a bride runs through a forest whose branches seem to grab at her in a Disney nightmare. She floats in a pond, holding flowers, like Ophelia. Another woman makes her way with a child over marshy grass that sucks at her. Looming in the sky is another planet, vast in size. The Earth is about to end.

If I were choosing a director to make a film about the end of the world, von Trier the gloomy Dane might be my first choice. The only other name that comes to mind is Werner Herzog's. Both understand that at such a time silly little romantic subplots take on a vast irrelevance. Doctor Johnson told Boswell: "Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." In the cast of von Trier's characters, impending doom seems to have created a mental state of dazed detachment. They continue to act as if their personal concerns have the slightest relevance. Von Trier has never made a more realistic domestic drama, depicting a family that is dysfunctional not in crazy ways but in ways showing a defiant streak of intelligent individualism.

In any film involving the destruction of the globe, we know that, if it is not to be saved, there must be a "money shot" depicting the actual cataclysm. I doubt any could do better than von Trier does here. There are no tidal waves. No animals fleeing through burning forests. No skyscrapers falling. None of that easy stuff. No, there is simply a character standing on a hill and staring straight at the impending doom, as von Trier shows it happening in what logically must be slow motion, with a fearsome preliminary merging of planetary atmospheres.











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