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From the Vaults: Looking Back at von Trier

"Melancholia" vs. "Breaking the Waves" and "Dancer in the Dark"

By Marjorie Baumgarten, 2:50PM, Fri. Jan. 6, 2012

Dancer in the Dark
Dancer in the Dark

Danish director Lars von Trier's Melancholia received the top spot in the Chronicle's list of the Top 10 films of 2011. In my introduction to the combined tally of the individual lists of Marc Savlov, Kimberley Jones, and myself, I wonder, however, about the greatness of Melancholia as compared to other von Trier films.

Is Melancholia as good as Breaking the Waves or Dancer in the Dark? Is it even fair to compare the output of a single year by the internal standards of a director's own excellence? It's an open question, and not one that the linked reviews here will support. Personally, I'd rank these three as No. 1: Dancer in the Dark, No. 2: Melancholia, and No. 3: Breaking the Waves. What do you think?

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