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Sylvie Van den Elsen,
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
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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