After seeing D. W. Griffith's epic Intolerance, Denmark's greatest director, Carl Theodor Dreyer (The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr), was inspired to make his own four-episode historical ... See full summary »
How do we understand faith and prayer, and what of miracles? August 1925 on a Danish farm. Patriarch Borgen has three sons: Mikkel, a good-hearted agnostic whose wife Inger is pregnant, ... See full summary »
Carl Theodor Dreyer
Emil Hass Christensen,
Preben Lerdorff Rye
EROTIKON surely pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable on the screen in 1920: Irene, the bored wife of a distracted entomologist, pursues a womanizing aviator, but she may actually be... See full summary »
During a dinner, given by a wealthy baron and his wive, attended by four of her suitors in a 19th century German manor, a shadow-player rescues the marriage by giving all the guests a ... See full summary »
A young man is convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a term in prison. There he forms a close relationship with his cellmate and upon his release his wife is concerned as to how prison has changed the man she married.
The owner of a Waxmuseum needs for three of his models stories to be told to the audience. For that reason he has hired a writer, who after one look athe owner's pretty daughter, starts ... See full summary »
The Mothers' Aid is a state-funded institution with branches all over Denmark. Erna, a young pregnant woman, has asked a doctor to carry out an abortion, but instead he advised her to go to... See full summary »
After seeing D. W. Griffith's epic Intolerance, Denmark's greatest director, Carl Theodor Dreyer (The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr), was inspired to make his own four-episode historical epic with each story told end to end, anthology-style, linked by theme to the others. The unifying character, Satan, attempts to win God's favor but is doomed to cheerless participation in dark episodes of human history: the temptation of Jesus, the Spanish Inquisition, the French Revolution and the Russo-Finnish war of 1918. Few directors resisted compromise and convention the way Dreyer did; fortunately, the Nordisk Film Company was artistically progressive by Hollywood standards and agreed that this should be a prestige film made to the highest standards. More than two years in production, Dreyer not only directed but also controlled every facet of this ambitious production. Written by
God has set a few rules for Satan. He is to provide over historical events, usually playing one of the bad guys. If things go the way we would expect, he must endure more time in the underworld. If he can find a human willing to sacrifice for good, he will get a thousand years to his credit. Unfortunately, with the Crucifixion, the Inquisition, the French Revolution, and the invasion of the Reds into Finland, there's not much for him to pad his bank account. The stories are so bleak and hopeless. Women and children are not spared, and since we pretty much know what is going to happen, little suspense. It's one of the few cinematic treatments of Marie Antoinette where she comes off as upstanding (no cake here). The upside is, naturally, that there is wonderful film-making going on here with great images and depth. One should see as many of these films as possible in order to get a sense of our film heritage. This one may have taught a lot; Dryer taught a lot.
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