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 »
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
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 »
A man and a woman on a motorcycle arrive with a ferry to Assens. They want to catch the next ferry in Nyborg, on the other side of the island, but this ferry will leave in three quarters of... 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 »
Woman vows to live in uncompromising bliss or gloom
Cinema Great Carl Dreyer's final film is said to be his masterpiece as well. The innovative b&w cinematography, featuring only a handful, drawn out scenes in confined spaces, makes use of mirrors, shadows and suggested action. The story begins ca. 1900, studying several characters in depth. Gertrud, the wife of a wealthy lawyer with political aspirations, feels unappreciated by her work-consumed husband. The viewer quickly learns that Gertrud is about to end what appeared to be years of boredom as the "attache" of a man who lives mainly for his secular accomplishments. Despite his protests and assurances that he couldn't live without her, she leaves to see a lover.
Drawn to men of the arts, Gertrud herself was once a celebrated opera singer. A lengthy love affair with a man who later becomes a nationally honored poet, left the jilted author heart broken. Another man, a pioneer in the field of psychiatry, becomes Gertrud's friend and confidante, but never a lover.
The story, via flashbacks, present action and time scan forward shows Gertrud's entire adult life. The final scene offers somewhat of an explanation for why this woman has seemingly denied herself any true happiness. The men who offered her everything, even with the greatest possible concessions on their part, were told not to bother. Gertrud's extreme sense of pride, as noticed by a young musical genius who sees her as a convenient fling, leaves no wavering of the determined mind.
If this film appeared to be scandalous in 1964, how would society view this kind of real activity in the early 1900s? A strong sense of "truth", as a philosopher may call it, will always override any kind of compromise. "Love is all", the only words on Gertrud's head stone. There must be more to life than strict adherence to an ideology, especially at the high cost. A critically acclaimed film, "Gertrud" nonetheless lacks entertainment value due to its fatalistic story telling
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