For its depiction of musical sequences as neurotic fantasies occuring in the mind of a tragic heroine (Bjork) who can’t cope with reality, and for its use of dozens upon dozens of stationary video cameras to cover the dancing and singing, Lars von Trier‘s Dancer in the Dark is one of the few groundbreaking musicals in cinematic history. (A new Bluray version is out this month.) The other biggies are (b) Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen‘s On The Town, the first musical shot in real-world locations, (c) Richard Lester‘s A Hard Day’s Night, the first semi-comical, nouvelle vague-styled rock musical featuring the first-ever MTV music video sequence; and (c) Bob Fosse‘s Cabaret, in which all song-and-dance numbers were performed on a club stage with nobody “breaking out in song” within the narrative.

Dozens of acres of tall grass and red flowers on some grand estate somewhere south of Siena, Italy. Taken in late May of 2000. I was detoxing from the Cannes Film Festival, which had screened Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark a week earlier to great fanfare.

The best films of 2000, by the way, were Sexy Beast, You Can Count On Me, Wonder Boys, Before Night Falls, Almost Famous (“Untitled” DVD director’s cut), Erin Brockovich, Amores perros, Dancer in the Dark, Girlfight, Gone in 60 Seconds (guilty pleasure), High Fidelity, In the Mood for Love, Memento, The Tao of Steve (2nd guilty pleasure), Traffic.