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
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 »
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 ... See full summary »
Carl Theodor Dreyer
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 »
In the elegant world of artists and musicians, Gertrud ends her marriage to Gustav and takes a lover, the composer Erland Jansson. When he also fails to live up to her idealistic standards, she leaves him and imposes on herself a kind of exile of the heart. In flashbacks and in conversations laced with memories, we also learn of her affair with Gabriel, who still wishes she would go off with him, and we learn of her adolescence, with its early expression of her isolating ideal of absolute love. Written by
Despite running 2 hours, there are less than 90 shots in the entire film and only one exterior scene. This may account for the outright hostility that greeted the film from the critical fraternity when it was first released. See more »
When Gertrud walks across the room in order to give Axel his letters back, the shadow from the camera and equipment can clearly be seen on the back wall. See more »
The gardener has been told that only grass shall grow on my grave and in springtime I shall have anemones. You'll come by one day, pick an anemone and think of me. Take it as a word of love that was thought, but never spoken.
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You might be dismayed the first time you view Gertrud. Is this a masterpiece you might ask yourself? Nothing seems to happen. People sit and talk. Sometimes they get up and move about and then go and sit down again. When they do talk, it is not always facing one another. Gertrud herself often appears to be in a trance, staring towards another world, a beyond of perfection where no mortal man can exist or match up to her dreams. By the end of the film she seems to have become as bloodless and lifeless as a statue. Whiteness has overcome her and it is as lethal as the powder in the mill of Dreyer's Vampyr.
This is a film that must be watched several times in order for all its qualities to be revealed. The characters movements are exactly choreographed. The decor is stripped down to its essentials. There is nothing in the frame that does not comment. It might appear on the surface to be a naturalistic film, but it is, in fact, as staged and controlled as any Fellini. Gertrud is about the martyrdom of a woman who seeks perfection in a flawed world. Its surface, is as still, and tranquil, as a lake in a park, but underneath, everything is turmoil and volcanic emotion
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