The young wife of an aging priest falls in love with his son amidst the horror of a merciless witch hunt in 17th-century Denmark.The young wife of an aging priest falls in love with his son amidst the horror of a merciless witch hunt in 17th-century Denmark.The young wife of an aging priest falls in love with his son amidst the horror of a merciless witch hunt in 17th-century Denmark.
A powerful story of love and belief.
Although I'm certainly not religious myself, I do find the subject of religion to be fascinating, yet whenever I see a film about religion, especially old black and white subtitled ones, it tends to be a very torrid viewing for me. This was certainly the case with Ingmar Bergman's 'Winter Light', but not the case with this film; which is actually very good. I went into it with the wrong expectations because my television guide had touted it as a film about witch hunt; which although they feature in the film, that's not what it's about. The film is about loss of faith, and having to choose between what you believe and the people you love. We follow a pastor who has indicted a woman for witchcraft and later has her burnt at the stake. Around the same time, his son has returned and he has inadvertently fallen in love with his father's wife, a woman who is his junior. Much like his earlier 'Passion of the Joan of Ark', Danish genius Carl Theodor Dreyer has created a film rich with religious tones that includes themes of witchcraft and the power of belief. The lighting and way that the atmosphere is built in the film is superb, and it's obvious that a master technician made the film. However, much like Passion of Joan of Ark, and his 1932 film, Vampyr, this film also comes across as being cold - which can make it difficult to like if, like me, you value the story and characters over technical prowess and potent themes. Day of Wrath is certainly not a film for everyone, and people that dislike thought provoking, yet completely style-less pieces of art should steer clear. For everyone else, however, this is most definitely worth a watch.
- Feb 10, 2005
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