Dancer in the Dark is a 2000 musical drama film written and directed by Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier. It stars Icelandic musician Björk as a factory worker who suffers from a degenerative eye condition and is saving for an operation to prevent her young son from suffering the same fate. The soundtrack for the film, Selmasongs, was written mainly by Björk.
Dancer in the Dark is the third film in von Trier’s « Golden Heart Trilogy », following Breaking the Waves (1996) and The Idiots (1998). It was shot with a handheld camera. It premiered at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival to standing ovations and controversy, but was nonetheless awarded the Palme d’Or, along with the Best Actress award for Björk.
In Washington state in 1964, Selma Ježková, a Czech immigrant, has moved to the United States with her 12-year-old son, Gene Ježek. They live a life of poverty as Selma works at a factory with her good friend Kathy, whom she nicknames Cvalda. She rents a trailer home on the property of town policeman Bill Houston and his wife, Linda. She is also pursued by the shy but persistent Jeff, who also works at the factory.
Selma is gradually losing her vision due to a degenerative eye condition, but is saving money to pay for an operation that will prevent Gene from sharing her fate. She also takes part in rehearsals for a production of The Sound of Music and accompanies Kathy to the local cinema, where together they watch Hollywood musicals, as Kathy describes them to her.
In her day-to-day life, Selma daydreams, imagining herself in a musical. Jeff and Kathy begin to realize that Selma’s vision is worse than they thought, and that she has been memorizing eye charts in order to pass vision tests and keep her job. Bill reveals to Selma that Linda’s excessive spending has put the couple’s house in danger of foreclosure by their bank………