1996 was a highly significant year for cinema, for reasons quite unconventional. The 90s saw some incredible cinema being made throughout after a brief creative halt in the 80s. Although other years such as 1991 (‘The Silence of the Lambs’, ‘JFK’), 1999 (‘Fight Club’, ‘Magnolia’), and especially 1994 (‘The Shawshank Redemption’, ‘Pulp Fiction’, ‘The Lion King’, ‘Forrest Gump’) have stolen the proverbial spotlight, 1996 is a veritable dark horse that saw pathbreaking cinema astounding and delighting audiences on levels both big and small.
In the long run, it is indeed a pity that the movies of 1996 have had a lack of critical attention and public praise. Significantly, that makes an endeavour such as this more essential than it otherwise would be. Here is the list of top movies that 1996 had to offer:
12. Breaking the Waves (1996)
Serving as the first film of Danish director Lars von Trier’s ‘Golden Heart’ Trilogy (followed by ‘The Idiots’ and ‘Dancer in the Dark’), ‘Breaking the Waves’ is a painstakingly crafted film. It was also von Trier’s first cinematic venture after he established the ‘Dogme 95’ movement in his native Denmark. As such, the film follows its rules of bringing cinema to its purest ideas of story, theme, and performance. ‘Breaking the Waves’ also doesn’t utilise any special effects, in accordance with the tenets of ‘Dogme 95’.
At the centre is an utterly vulnerable and sacrificing wife, Bess, who is played with angst by Emily Watson. Her relationship with her bedridden husband Jan (Stellan Skarsgård) tests her resolve, and her steadfast beliefs in what love and devotion is supposed to be. Her insanity and rebellion makes us question whether sex alone constitutes love, and how great can a sacrifice be to justify the same.