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Breaking the Waves

Breaking the Waves is a 1996 drama film directed and co-written by Lars von Trier and starring Emily Watson. Set in the Scottish Highlands in the early 1970s, it is about an unusual young woman and of the love she has for her husband, who asks her to have sex with other men when he becomes immobilized from a work accident. The film is an international co-production led by von Trier's Danish company Zentropa. It is the first film in Trier's Golden Heart Trilogy, which also includes The Idiots (1998) and Dancer in the Dark (2000).

Plot

Bess McNeill is a young and beautiful Scottish woman, who has, in the past, been subjected to unenlightened psychiatric "treatment". She marries oil rig worker Jan Nyman, a Danish non-churchgoer, despite disapproval from her community and her Free Scottish Presbyterian Calvinist church. Bess is steadfast and pure of heart, but quite simple and childlike in her beliefs. During her frequent visits to the church, she prays to God and carries on conversations with Him in her own voice, believing that He is responding directly through her.

Awards