Filmed during the Nazi occupation of Denmark, Carl Dreyer’s Day of Wrath (Vredens dag) is a harrowing account of individual helplessness in the face of growing social repression and paranoia. Anna, the young second wife of a well-respected but much older pastor, falls in love with her stepson when he returns to their small seventeenth-century village. Stepping outside the bounds of the village’s harsh moral code has disastrous results. Exquisitely photographed and passionately acted, Day of Wrath remains an intense, unforgettable experience. —The Criterion Collection
Carl Theodor Dreyer was born out of wedlock to a Swedish housekeeper, Josefina Nilsson (1855-1891), who gave him up for adoption immediately after. The first year and a half of his life was turbulent, but the little boy finally found a home with the Dreyer family and was named Carl Theodor after his adoptive father. Dreyer’s birth mother died not long after his eventual adoption. Several film scholars have interpreted Dreyer’s frequent depictions of tragic women as an autobiographical element in his films.
Dreyer began his career as a reporter, specialising in aviation early on, in 1910-1913. Himself an active balloonist, he got a balloonist’s certificate in November 1911. Alongside his journalism, he wrote screenplays. His first realised script was Bryggerens Datter (Dagmar) (Rasmus Ottesen, 1912), produced by Det Skandinavisk-russiske Handelshus. In 1913-1918, he worked as a script consultant and writer at Nordisk Film, where he also made his directorial debut… read more
Essential cinema. Dreyer's treatise on human nature, superstition, religious zealotry and passion stands as one of cinema history's great scripts especially when one reads into a possible subtext that comments on the German occupation of the time. Performances are dynamite but its the use of shadows and lighting that make this visually astounding. The confession sequence between man and wife is just so vicious.
The sun blackening two impassioned figures by the river; Lisbeth Movin's confession under the eyes of Totalitarianism (interpreted as Barthes, "I affirm, beyond truth and falsehood, beyond success and failure."). The remote past is the Repressive present: no remissions. Insofar as hope fails to show itself, I am despondent; but insofar as the action succeeds in performing this failure, I am glad, anxious and glad.
A fearsome and precise indictment of human cruelty and ignorance in its various guises, from the incidental artifacts of cultural habit (or "tradition") to the deliberate depredations of selfishness and malice. Evil idle and active, blindness willed or born into -- Dreyer conveys them all to judgment via the austerely majestic mechanism of his art, and mourns them. Pity the witches, mourn the wretches. Our day is always coming.
A pair of stunning giant posters for Dreyer’s masterpiece, and other over-sized posters by the artist René Péron.
Above: The Bride of Glomdale (1926). Image courtesy of The Danish Film Institute/Stills & Posters Archive. Almost all early Carl Th
The Brooklyn Academy of Music will be running a Carl Th. Dreyer retrospective, appropriately and monolithically titled DREYER, from March 13
The Brooklyn Academy of Music will be running the Carl Th. Dreyer retrospective, appropriately and monolithically titled DREYER, from March 13
The Brooklyn Academy of Music will be running the Carl Th. Dreyer retrospective, appropriately and monolithically titled DREYER, from