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Breaking the Waves

Breaking the Waves

A Feature film by Lars Von Trier

Release in France : 09/10/1996


    In the early 1970s a naive girl, Bess, living in a small community on the northwest coast of Scotland, falls in love with oil rig worker and man-of-the-world Jan. Despite local opposition they marry. Jan returns to the rig, while Bess counts the days to his homecoming, sure that their love is made in heaven, especially as she is convinced that she can mentally communicate with God. When an accident renders Jan paralysed, he is worried that Bess will cut herself off from normal life. Realizing that he will be bedridden, he persuades her that she will aid his recovery by giving herself to other men.



    Breaking the Waves

    Trailer (VOSTFR)

    Actors (6)

    Production and distribution (4)

    Box Office: Total results

    Box office: Timeline

    International releases (34)

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    TV Broadcasts: Cumulative total

    TV broadcasts: details by country


    "The international success of "Breaking the Waves" is mainly due to its own outstanding qualities. You can't manufacture a hit if the film doesn't have it. This amazing love story deeply touched its audiences, thanks of course to Lars Von Trier's directing and Emily Watson's superb performance. The 1996 Cannes Festival was a major factor in the film's career. The press and the public were knocked out by it, and it became an event that everyone felt strongly about - they either adored it or slammed it. The buzz saw to it that the film was sold worldwide, and with support from Media 2 we were able to help all the European distributors (paying for prints, etc.). The movie has made 600,000 admissions in France."
    (Régine Vial - Les Films du Losange)

    Full credits (11)

    Screenwriters :

    Lars Von Trier, Peter Asmussen

    Co-producer :

    Marianne Slot

    Sound Recordist :

    Per Streit

    Editor :

    Anders Refn

    Music Composer :

    Joachim Holbek

    Still Photographer :

    Rolf Konow

    Foreign producers :

    Peter Aalbaek Jensen, Peter Van Vogelpoel, Vibeke Windelov, Rob Langestraat

    Director of Photography :

    Robby Muller

    Press Attachés (film) :

    Eva Simonet, Isabelle de la Baume

    Production Designer :

    Karl Juliusson

    Costume designer :

    Manon Rasmussen

    Technical details

    Feature film

    Genres :


    Sub-genre :

    Psychological drama

    Production language :


    Coproducer countries :

    Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, France

    Original French-language productions :


    Nationality :

    Minority French (Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, France)

    Production year :


    French release :


    Runtime :

    2 h 38 min

    Current status :


    Visa number :


    Visa issue date :


    Approval :


    Production formats :


    Color type :


    Aspect ratio :


    Audio format :

    Dolby SRD

    Posters (1)


    Festival Selections (5)

    European Film Awards (EFA) - 1996

    European Film Awards (EFA) (Germany, 1996)


    Best European Film

    Cannes International Film Festival - 1996

    Cannes International Film Festival (France, 1996)


    Official Competition - Feature Films


    Cesar Awards - French film industry awards - 1997

    Cesar Awards - French film industry awards (France, 1997)


    César Award for Best Foreign Feature