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
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.
A young man is elected by a small village to be its parson. As part of his duties, he is required to marry the widow of the parson before him. This poses two problems--first, the widow is ... See full summary »
Victor Frandsen is a domestic tyrant. His wife Ida has to work as a slave for him and the rest of the family. She rises early to prepare everything for the day, she toils all day long, and ... See full summary »
Carl Theodor Dreyer
Mikaël is an artist who rises as his teacher, the aging Zoret, falls. Zoret gives Mikaël his start, and their relationship is sexual as well. Then Mikaël takes up with the Princess Zamikoff, selling gifts from Zoret and even stealing from the master to pay for his carnal and luxurious life with her. He abandons Zoret, whose health begins to fail but who also discovers spirituality in his solitude. In a subplot, Alice Adelsskjold cuckolds her husband and takes a lover, the Duke of Monthieu; their relationship, infused with the eroticism of art, also gives way to religion as the duke becomes ill. Written by
This is a beautiful film, in its rich mise-en-scène and gorgeous cinematography. It resembles in polished photography, including how well it has remained over the years, the better-looking Hollywood films at the end of the silent era. The lighting is great, creating a very clear and crisp picture, with many subtle effects. And, the interior furnishings are lush.
"Michael" is a moving film, and I think that has more to do with the photography and settings than with the drama. The implicit homosexual relationship between the artist and his model, Michael, is curious, though. What I especially like about the narrative, however, is that it's about art--a very apt subject, which is heightened by the photography. Benjamin Christensen plays the aging artist, which is a significant casting decision, given that he was the great Danish filmmaker to precede Dreyer. Christensen had worked as an actor in his own films, so he's fully capable in this role. Additionally, cinematographer Karl Freund, who changed the role of the camera the same year in "The Last Laugh", has a small role as an art dealer.
Overall, Dreyer does better here with the actors than he previously had. He achieves a nice pacing, as well, except for a few mistimed editing cues, which are too quick. Even the subplot, for mood affect, works. It's a mature work--probably his first--resembling his later films in many ways.
21 of 26 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?