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Breaking the Waves

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Lars Von Trier’s deservedly acclaimed drama, Breaking the Waves, about a Scottish naif (Emily Watson) who goes to great, sometimes degrading lengths to save the life of her paralyzed husband (Stellan Skarsgard) is a different experience on video. Although the wide-screen transfer (it’s also available in a fullscreen edition) preserves Robby Muller’s restless, probing handheld cinematography, the film’s unusual colors and textures (particularly the striking interludes that begin its eight sections) sometimes look washed out or indistinct on the tube. What’s not diminished in the least are Watson’s naked, Oscar-nominated performance and an impassioned narrative that recalls silent cinema at its best (think Lillian Gish in her D.W. Griffith triumphs). In an age of ironic and moronic entertainment, this film is something of a miracle. A

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