13 Cats in the Dark – By @now_pictured

By Ivan Stanojevic


13 Cats in the Dark


During the break, we had to watch a movie we’d never watch normally. I remember seeing Melancholia by Lars Von Trier in the cinema years ago. Halfway through the movie, I was frantically looking towards the exit, hoping something would save me from the torture of boredom it caused. So the obvious choice for this challenge was checking out Dancer in the Dark, Von Triers depressing musical drama starring Björk. I remember hearing about it being the most depressing movie of all time. And at the running time of 2 hours 20 minutes, it seems like a hard watch. 


The movie starts off slow and you’re first thrown by it’s raw, low budget look. It looks like a behind-the-scenes video. But after some time you get used to the style and actually come to appreciate it. The musical numbers start about 40 minutes into the movie, which is also when it really starts taking off – as much as a Von Trier movie can. The story follows Selma, a Chezckoslovakian ex-pat living in Alaska, working in a factory while slowly going blind. The movie then takes a turn. It’s a very depressing movie, intertwined with musical numbers representing Selma’s inner thoughts and love for musicals. These musical moments are brilliant and only keep getting better as the movie progresses. They are nothing short of spectacular.  Björk shines in the movie, with her quirky voice and acting elevating it to new heights. 


Earlier that night I had gone to see the phenomenon that is the live-action Cats movie. Seeing it was a unique experience to say the least. At one point sir Ian McKellan is slurping milk out of a plate, making me question everything that I know about the world. Rebel Wilson at one point takes off her skin to reveal another fur underneath as well as a purple outfit? Dame Judy Dench, who looks like she is playing The Cowardly Lion, turns her head towards the audience at the end and tells you that now you really do know EVERYTHING about cats. After an hour and 30 minutes of song after song that basically plays like »I’m a cat, these are the cat things that I do« we truly did know everything about them. The movie, unfortunately, lacks a plot and is just a string of bad songs one after the other. Taylor Swift’s song is a standout. 


One night I watched two musicals, who couldn’t be further apart. I wanted to see Cats, I had known it was a hot mess and it didn’t disappoint. If they pushed it more and made it even more ridiculous, it could have actually been an interesting movie. This way it was just too safe. Dancer in the Dark, on the other hand, is one of the most interesting movie experiences I’ve ever had and it was a movie I wasn’t really THAT excited to see. A super slow, depressing movie that somehow keeps your attention throughout while also showing you something you’ve never really seen in a movie before. Amazing. 


So I would definitely recommend checking out Dancer in the Dark if you feel like watching something unusual but very emotionally charged. And I recommend watching Cats if you want to know what it feels like coming off of a three-day binge of mixing cocaine and acid.

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