Dancer in the Dark: Audience Appreciation or Alienation?

Dancer in the Dark: Audience Appreciation or
Alienation?
Godfrey Cheshire, New York Press
‘You’ll either love it or hate it!’ That seems to be the word on
Danish director Lars Von Trier’s new film ‘Dancer in the Dark,’
starring pop sensation Bjork. This certainly was the case when
‘Dancer’ won the Palme D’Or earlier this year at Cannes: half the
audience stood up to applaud and the other half booed. Although he
ultimately votes thumbs-down, Godfrey Cheshire, in theNew
York Press,
offers a thought-provoking analysis of ‘Dancer’
and the ambivalent reaction it has received. Von Trier’s film, he
muses, is predicated on the idea of an audience that thinks it is
clever and sophisticated but is actually stupid. In ‘Dancer,’ Von
Trier plays with his viewers, endlessly employing clichéd movie
conventions with an ironic wink-wink swagger. He says to viewers:
‘I know all these dumb, hokey conventions are past redemption. But
watch. I’ll use them, and I’ll still get you.” In effect, Von
Trier holds a mirror up to his audience and dares them to cry,
which — invariably — they do. Although many critics have declared
‘Dancer’ a masterpiece, it is perhaps Von Trier’s practice of
outright audience manipulation that has led to the chorus of boos
and rotten tomatoes that have greeted the film. — Anjula
Razdan
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