Breaking the Waves by Lars von Trier (1996) is a film that tells the story of Bess, a naïve young woman who falls in love with Danish oil-rig worker Jan and got married. Set in a repressed, highly religious community in the north of Scotland, all Bess wanted was to have Jan by her side all the time. When Jan had to get back to work at the oil-rig, Bess was devastated and prayed to God to send him home. Jan was sent home indeed, but not after a terrible accident that left him paralyzed completely. Bess felt that it was her fault, and wanted to do whatever she could to help him recover. Jan eventually wants her to find another man to sleep with and tell him all about the sexual experience so that he won’t “forget” the feeling. Dorothy, or Dodo, is Bess’ sister-in-law and she cares a lot for her. She stayed by her side the entire time, even when she got exiled from the church for speaking.



I was inspired to create this poster, where the three main characters are crying against a backdrop of waves, an appropriate background, since the film is titled that. The film made the audience follow Bess’ devastating journey to seek love and her desire to help Jan recover after the accident. The film ends in tragedy, which is why I chose to have the characters crying. The tagline “Love . Faith . Sacrifice” was what I feel, the main themes of the film. Bess’ love for Jan, her faith in God, and her eventual sacrifice to help Jan recover, I feel that the tagline captures the essence of the film. The reason why I cropped Bess into a circle was because I felt that her world was small. In the film, her only focus was Jan. Her life is revolved around the man and we don’t see her doing anything else unrelated to him.


About the author:

Lester is an aspiring writer who has a knack for writing stories with strong visuals, and is exploring the different writing platforms.



IMDb. 1996. Breaking the Waves (1996). [online] Available at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115751/ [Accessed: 24 Jun 2013].


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