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The judge in a Danish town sees his illegitimate daughter facing a trial for the murder of her newborn child, and is rather sure that she will be sentenced to death. She became pregnant from an aristocrat who didn't want to marry her. The same fate happened to her mother, although he wasn't allowed to marry because of a vow he had given to his father who had to marry under rank after the girl got pregnant. As expected the sentence for his daughter is death, he asks for a pardon, but this isn't granted although he is promoted. So he decides to free her and get her out of the country at all costs. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Praesidenten" is the first film of the great Danish film director Carl Theodor Dreyer and, for this German count, this debut is a perfect example of Dreyer's film style. It's one, with degrees of variation, he would maintain in his silent films as well as in his talkie career.
"Praesidenten" is a film perfectly constructed (the film is divided into three different but interrelated parts). Flashbacks are used to depict the terrible story of Danish noblemen who dare to fall in love with common girls; such huge mistakes will have serious consequences for the main characters as Herr Von Sendlingen says to his son at the beginning of the film, "never marry a commoner, for no good ever comes of it, naught but curses and remorse " ah, wise words, indeed!.
"Praesidenten", besides having a solid and narrative film structure very well rendered, has an elegantly slow pace, this is very characteristic in Herr Dreyer's films, film cadences and pauses endow the story with intensity and emotive nature, showing the vicissitudes of three generations of a family broken due to impossible or imprudent relationships. When at the end of the film the main character has the opportunity to atone his sins and make amends with the past, he finally carries the burden of stricter convictions and codes of honor.
"Praesidenten" is a solid debut, one with graceful and delicate pacing a perfect example of the Herr Dreyer oeuvre.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count, as President of the "Associated Aristocrats Foundation" must attend another decadent meeting.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien
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