|Index||4 reviews in total|
De Nåede Færgen "They Caught the Ferry" (1948)
Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer.
This short movie is an adaptation of the famous Danish writer Johannes V. Jensen's short story with the same title.
In order to reach his ferry before it leaves to harbor a young couple has to drive fast. And faster he goes. And he likes it. He likes the thrill of a fast ride. But when you live a fast life, it can be over sooner than you know.
This short was made as an anti-speed movie when there were no speed limits in Denmark, to scare people from driving to fast. It is directed by Denmark's most famous director Carl Theodor Dreyer, and again he proves that he masters the screen element. Especially the editing is very good throughout the short movie.
They Caught the Ferry is a superb little exercise in filming and editing to maximum potential. According to the summary, it was meant as a propaganda piece against fast driving in Denmark. Going into it I had no idea that would be what it's about, maybe it would be some quick doc on ferries. Turns out it gives the director Carl TH Dreyer much to work with in little time and resources. All he has is a few opening and closing shots of a ferry, with the filler being a couple on a motorcycle. It starts off mundanely enough, not even bothering with things like really establishing character or a story. In a way it's in common with Passion of Joan of Arc by it being a simple, fatalistic situation unfolding. Like that film as well, it could just as well function as a silent work with its very brief, interesting but unimportant dialog, and it's style more akin to that era's reaches for a visual freedom. The numerous shots of the field going by, the two on the motorcycle, the intensity that starts to slowly build (there's no music) with what might come of these characters in pursuit of their goal. It's not too far out or over-stylized, however, and it's more in tune with cinema verite at times, bordering on it being quite ahead of its time; shots like these pop up close to being this good in today's movies with more resources and time. Obviously not one to be seen by many as it's on a DVD with an equally obscure silent film from the 20s, but it's definitely worth the ten minutes if you got it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
They Caught the Ferry was apparently an anti-speeding film made in
Denmark in the later 40s and, while it is undoubtedly a superlative
piece of movie-making, director Carl Th. Dreyer does such a masterful
job of capturing how it feels to be belting along the road at insane
speeds (complete with one terrific POV shot) that you can't help
wondering whether the film actually ended up encouraging speeding.
There's no real story other than a man and his girlfriend have to travel a distance to catch a ferry which requires them to give their motorcycle a real workout along winding country roads. To be fair, they take few risks until they cone across one motorist - a sinister, cadaverous figure - who refuses to let them pass and forces them off the road and into one of those trees that has waited fifty-odd years for you to turn up. Everything about this film - directing, editing, cinematography - is first class, and it even includes a macabre little twist for a finale.
This film is a bit of a comedy...something unusual but not
unprecedented for director Carl Theodor Dreyer. Usually the guy is
associated with very serious religious films and films about religious
hypocrisy but this time he took a break from that sort of thing to make
this very dark comedy.
When the film begins, a man on a motorcycle asks the ferry attendant how long until the ferry down river leaves. He's told it's leaving in only 45 minutes...and it's 70 kilometers from there. Despite this, the motorcycle rider and his girlfriend insist that they'll make it on time. So, for a very, very long time (or so it seems) you see the motorcycle racing through the countryside. Now remember...this is a Dreyer film and Dreyer is beloved by the artsy viewers...so in addition to showing the couple on the motorcycle, you are treated to lots of extraneous shots of the front wheel, the sky and many other things. It's an art film...so deal with that. Ultimately, there IS a funny payoff...if death and irony is the sort of thing that produces belly laughs in you. As for me, it was mildly entertaining and nasty...and I mean that in a good way.
|Plot summary||Ratings||External reviews|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|