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 »
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
Tore takes over the rundown family farm. Applying his youthful energy, he intends to make it into a big farm like Glomgården on the other side of the river, where beautiful Berit lives. ... See full summary »
Based on the 1918 novel 'Elsker hverandre' by Aage Madelung, the film follows various lives, one of which is Jewish girl Hanne Liebe, as she grows up, and experiences the pains of living as a Jew in Russia, leading to a revolution.
Carl Theodor Dreyer
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 »
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 epic with each story told end to end, anthology-style, linked by theme to the others. The unifying character, Satan, attempts to win God's favor but is doomed to cheerless participation in dark episodes of human history: the temptation of Jesus, the Spanish Inquisition, the French Revolution and the Russo-Finnish war of 1918. Few directors resisted compromise and convention the way Dreyer did; fortunately, the Nordisk Film Company was artistically progressive by Hollywood standards and agreed that this should be a prestige film made to the highest standards. More than two years in production, Dreyer not only directed but also controlled every facet of this ambitious production.Written by
Music and Lyrics by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Played in the 2004 alternate version score in the third sequence mostly to accompany the actors singing it silently on-screen See more »
Carl Theodor Dreyer is the greatest filmmaker to come out of Denmark (and one of the greatest from anywhere), but not here. This was early in his career, so I suppose it's excusable. Dreyer connects four stories from Christ to modern times just as D.W. Griffith did in "Intolerance" (1916), which obviously was the inspiration for this film. Story-wise, the four periods are more connected in this picture, with Satan binding them; there's only the theme of intolerance throughout the ages and all that for "Intolerance". It's the radical editing in "Intolerance", however, that links its periods on much higher levels, ending in an exciting, emotional and astonishing climax. Dreyer doesn't get enough sympathy out of Satan to make up for that.
The cinematography and film-making here are what one might expect from the era--prosaic, indeed. There are a few close-ups and some panning for practical purposes. A few shots were okay (a shot a la Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper, a silhouette of a guillotine, POV shots out a window, some of the dolly movements inside), but most of it's basic--boring by today's standards. There's lots of masking, which Griffith and Bitzer are well known for, with opening iris shots and such, but there's probably too much of that here, and it's certainly not enough to make the film visually appealing. Satan doomed to continue his evil deeds during the life of Christ, the Spanish Inquisition, the French Revolution and the Russian occupation of Finland just isn't interesting enough of a story by itself to make the two hours worth it.
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