Category Archives: Denmark

#297 Breaking The Waves

(1996, Lars von Trier)
“Not one of you has the right to consign Bess to Hell”

Last time we saw Lars Von Trier on this blog, it was the harrowing and unexpectedly excellent Dancer In The Dark, where Bjork sang some songs and endured as life just got worse and worse for her over a period of time. Today’s film, Breaking The Waves, is apparently part of the same trilogy, which means another innocent woman is put through hell due to a cruel, heartless world. So, nice and happy movie then.

Breaking The Waves focuses on Bess McNeil (Emily Watson), a young Scottish woman who lives in a very conservative village society. The movie hints at a history of psychological problems, which include her frequent discussions with God, who she believes responds to her in her own voice. She marries a Norwegian oil worker, Jan (Stellan Skarsgård), although following a passionate honeymoon, Jan must leave to go and work on the rig. Later events leave Jan paralysed, causing him to demand that Bess go and take other lovers in his absence. It all goes wrong from there.

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#229 Babette’s Feast

(1987, Gabriel Axel)
Babettes gæstebud

“Give me the chance to do my very best”

Babette’s Feast is one of very few Danish entries on the Movies You Must See list, and it’s a film that I’ve heard the name of a few times, although I’ve known nothing about it beyond it being set around a large, lavish feast. Is it any good? Well, let’s take a look.

Babette’s Feast is about two sisters living in a small village on the coast of Jutland in the 19th century. Martine (Birgitte Federspiel) and Philippa (Bodil Kjer) are the daughters of the village pastor, who has created his own very conservative branch of Christianity. The movie tells the story of how their lives got changed forever by the introduction of two attempted suitors in their youth, and the impact this has on their lives, and how they came to employ a French woman named Babette (Stephane Audran) as their servant.

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