Endnotes for

"Transgressing Goodness in
Breaking the Waves"

by Irena S. M. Makarushka


1. Louise J. Kaplan, Female Perversions: The Temptation of Emma Bovary (New York: Doubleday, 1991), p. 528. Hereafter cited parenthetically as FP with page number.

2. Breaking the Waves, written and directed by Lars von Trier, 1996. The screenplay, Breaking the Waves (London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1996), will be cited parenthetically as BW with page numbers. Since there are several differences between the film and screenplay, quotations from the dialogue in the film will be cited parenthetically as BW without page numbers.

3. Critics who point to Christian imagery and symbols include: James M. Wall, Breaking the Waves, The Christian Century, Feb. 5 1997; vol. 114; n. 5; pp. 115-7. Mark van De Walle, "Heaven's Weight," in Artform, Nov. 1996, vol. 35, n. 3 pp. 82-88. Brian D. Johnson, Breaking the Waves, Maclean's, Dec. 2, 1996, vol. 109, n. 49, p. 94. Richard Corliss, Breaking the Waves, Time, Dec. 2, 1996, vol. 148, n. 25, p. 81.

4. Critics who suggest mental illness include: Stanley Kaufmann, Breaking the Waves, The New Republic, Dec. 9, 1996, vol. 215, n. 24, p. 26-8. Harlan Kennedy, "Orbiting Sublimity," Film Comment, July-August 1996, vol. 32, n. 4. pp. 6-8.

5. For a study of women's films of the nineteen forties see: Mary Ann Doane, The Desire to Desire: The Woman's Film of the 1940s (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press,1987).

6. My reading of film is informed by a number of feminist film theorists. Among the most significant are: Teresa De Lauretis, Alice Doesn't: Feminism. Semiotics. Film (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982); Teresa De Lauretis, Technologies of Gender: Essays on Theory. Film and Fiction (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1987); Mary Ann Doane, The Desire to Desire: The Woman's Film of the 1940s (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1987); Constance Penley, ed. Feminism and Film Theory (New York: Routledge, 1988).

7. See: E. C. S., Breaking the Waves, in Out, June 1997, p. 81. I would like to thank Marilyn Reizbaum, my friend and colleague, for the many hours of heated discussion around this very vexing issue.

8. Francine du Plessy Gray, "What women talk about when they talk about Princess Diana," The New Yorker, September 15, 1997, pp. 30-1.

9. David Bordwell, Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989), chap. 4. Symptomatic interpretation is described as follows: Whether sources of meaning are intrapsychic to broadly cultural, they lie outside the conscious control of the individual who produces the utterance.... Repressed meaning is what no speaker will own up to" (72).

10. Lars Van Trier, "Director's Note - This Film is About 'Good'," in Breaking the Waves (London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1996), pp. 20ff.

11. Jennifer Egan, "Cutting," The New York Times Magazine, July 27, 1997, pp. 21ff. Kaplan is cited extensively in this article.

12. In an article titled "Traces of the 'Other' in Household Saints" to be published in a special issue of Literature and Theology on religion and film (1988), I used the categories suggested by Linda M. G. Zerilli, Signifying Woman (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1994), p. 1. She writes that woman signifies as both "culture and chaos" she is "... the radical sexual other...," "... a cipher, a series of absences to be filled ...," "... energy to be harnessed ...," woman is both "the site of sociosymbolic stabilization and destabilization...."

13. Julia Kristeva, "About Chinese Women," in The Kristeva Reader, Toril Moi, ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), p. 154. Kristeva discusses the place of women in the economy of patriarchy.

14. Per Kirkeby, "The Pictures Between the Chapters in Breaking the Waves," in Lars von Trier, Breaking the Waves (London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1996), p. 14.

15. Teresa de Lauretis, Alice Doesn't (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984), p.13.

16. de Lauretis, Technologies of Gender, pp. ix-x.

17. For example, Kaufmann, Breaking the Waves, p. 26.

18. For example, Johnson, Breaking the Waves, p. 94.

19. Rosemary Jackson, Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion (London and New York: Metheun, 1981), p. 3. This book was brought to my attention by Meghan Murphy, a student who worked with me in the spring of 1997 on an independent study research project focusing on gender and film.

20. Parveen Adams, "Of Female Bondage," in Teresa Brennan, ed., Between Feminism and Psychoanalysis (London and New York: Routledge, 1989), p. 248.

21. Ibid.

22. Stig Bjorkman, "Preface," in Lars von Trier, Breaking the Waves (London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1996), p. 4.

23. Adams, "Of Female Bondage," p. 253.