Björk Goes Back To Her Music

The New York Times, 2 février 2001

Björk, the Icelandic pop singer whose performance in Lars von Trier’s “Dancer in the Dark” earned her a Golden Globe nomination, was quietly working her way through a frothy cappuccino on the outdoor patio at the Chateau Marmont Hotel, above the Sunset Strip.

“For so long I had been working as a composer and a singer and, even though it was all very collaborative, basically it was me who was at the center, whose vision was the focus of the project,” she said. “I wanted to make the movie, I think, because I began wondering if it was time for me to go on a trip that wasn’t led by me.”

The awards season is a frantic time in Hollywood, especially in a year like this in which so many movies and performances are still in the running for the biggest prize, Academy Award nominations, to be announced Feb. 13 in Beverly Hills. The diminutive Björk was in town for the Golden Globe ceremonies. (“I am so happy, because my father is with me,” she said. “And he has never been here before. I think we will go to the beach.”) She lost to Julia Roberts but still got to make the network-televised red carpet scene and keep alive the outside chance of an Oscar nomination.

Initially she had agreed only to write the musical score for Mr. von Trier’s somber semimusical, but after some prodding and a leap of faith she agreed to take the central role of a young American factory worker who is slowly losing her sight. She still seems a little surprised that she agreed to do it. “I am very intuitive and impulsive in the way I work,” she said.

She studied classical music as a young girl in Iceland, she said, before rebelling and becoming a full-blown punk rocker with a singing career. Only in recent years, she said, has she felt drawn to reacquaint herself with her classical past, to find a way to blend it with the pop composer she became. Writing for the movie, to serve Mr. von Trier’s story rather than to express some personal emotion of her own, liberated her to go back to those classical roots, she said. “I really found myself getting into orchestrated things,” she said. Indeed, it has bled over into her next album, which she is currently recording in London and which, she thinks, will mark an end to her classical-meets-pop period.

Working on the film has given her no taste for acting, she said, and she doubts she will take another role. (She’d had a tiny cameo in Robert Altman’s “Prêt à Porter” in 1994 and starred in an Icelandic film, “Juniper Tree,” in 1987.) Nor did it make her want to step behind the camera and direct her own films. No, Björk said, it made her realize that she needed to be true to her own creative bent. Music will be her future, she said : “It is important to place the heart in the right place.”

And the truth is, she said, there is only so much time and creative energy she has to give. “One of the things I felt, although I loved working on the film, was that in a way I was wasting time,” Bjork said. “I was born to do music. This time, in this movie, I was innocent, and it was fine. But you cannot be innocent the second time around.”

publié dans The New York Times