This spiritual film is directed by Lars von Trier, and features Emily Watson in the lead as Bess McNeill. A young woman living in a sleepy Scottish village in the 1970s, Bess is naïve to the ways of the world and deeply in love with her husband, Jan Nyman (Stellan Skarsgård). Jan works at an oil-factory, and his absences lead Bess to pray to God that he can return and stay for good.
She gets her wish in the cruelest manner; Jan’s neck is broken in an accident, and he is paralyzed from the waist-down. He will never be able to walk again. Bess is left heartbroken and guilty over her prayer, yet Jan gives her permission to find another man to fall in love with. Unfortunately, Bess takes his plea the wrong way, and enters a path that sees her shunned by the church and going where even the town’s prostitutes wouldn’t dare.
“Breaking the Waves” proved to be a hit in American cinemas, grossing over $3 million at the Box office. For her role in the film, Watson was nominated for the ‘Best Actress in a Leading Role’ Academy Award. The film also won the ‘Grand Jury Prize’ at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.
The 10th edition of the Panorama of the European Film Festival runs from November 8 until November 18.