"Breaking the waves" - the film of one of the creators of the Dogma '95 manifesto, Dane Lars
von Trier, appeared on the screenings in 1996 and immediately became one of the most
moving cinematic films of recent years, not only because of the content, but also form.
Von Trier showed us the world on the screen from a different perspective, closer to the real
image of everyday life than any movie so far, while touching an extremely difficult and
controversial topic. The film tells the story of a girl from the seaside Scottish village - Bess
(Emily Watson), who marries Jan (Stellan Skarsg�rd), a worker from the oil platform.
Thanks to him, zahukana and naively looking at the world, Bess discovers a woman in
herself and knows the taste of love. Unfortunately, just after the wedding Jan must return to
the platform. In love, Bess asks God to return her beloved. When Jan suffers an accident and
gets paralyzed, Bess blames himself. Jan frees his wife from an oath of marital fidelity, urging
her to try to sleep with other men and tell him later. The girl initially disagrees, but when she
finally breaks, her husband's health begins to improve, which Bess perceives as hearing her
prayers and accepting God's sacrifice of herself. The villagers are brandishing Bess, but she
is ready to sacrifice everything in the name of love.
It is ready even for the biggest sacrifice. Playing Bess Emily Watson from the first minutes of
the film gains the sympathy of the viewer, who identifies with her heroine and experiences
her joy and suffering.
Watson created a distinctive and refined creation in terms of technique. In turn, Stellan
Skarsg�rd, who plays the role of John in this film, shows us an anti-healing character,
arousing the viewer's rather negative feelings, despite the love Bess brings to him. "Breaking
the waves" is one of the first pictures made according to the Dogma principles. We have
curly shots here, raw in their simplicity; the colors are subdued, and stylistically the entire
picture resembles a documentary. The work is supposed to show reality, be its faithful
representation, without distortions, without artificiality.
The soundtrack includes works by such bands as Deep Purple, Procol Harum or Thin Lizzy,
which perfectly capture the spirit of the seventies in which the film's action takes place.
Love for another person is often difficult and full of sacrifices, but the dedication of Bess to
John is a sacrifice of total, blind self-giving in the name of a feeling for another human being.
Bess, often perceived as a slow-thinking or childish person, is actually the embodiment of
na�ve and pure love.
What she feels about her husband is a sensation that can move mountains, a feeling that
pushes us to the most lucid or even the smallest deeds. The girl is not aware of the fact that
what she considers to be a sacred means to a goal is considered by others to be a lack of
In her opinion, love justifies everything, and for love it is worth giving away all of yourself. Von
Trier's film is certainly a shocking image that impresses its mark on every viewer who has
minimal ability to empathize.
"Breaking the waves" is a difficult, demanding image, next to which it is impossible to pass by
indifferently. This is a film for those who are not afraid to look closely at love in its purest