Carl Dreyer’s last film neatly crowns his career: a meditation on tragedy, individual will and the refusal to compromise. A woman leaves her unfulfilling marriage and embarks on a search for ideal love—but neither a passionate affair with a younger man nor the return of an old romance can provide the answer she seeks. Always the stylistic innovator, Dreyer employs long takes and theatrical staging to concentrate on Nina Pens Rode’s sublime portrayal of the proud and courageous Gertrud. —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
I suppose I'll get raked over the coals for this reaction, but I don't see greatness in Gertrud. In fact, it's the one Dreyer film that didn't level me. Thematically it's compelling, and the dialogue is great. But the curious melding of theatrical and modernist aesthetics left me cold, the overt artifice of the creation stripping away the emotional power of the performances.
A maddening and transcendent avant-garde soap opera which couches valuable, heartfelt messages in theatrical stylization so unrelentingly dour and humorless that it sometimes risks laughter. Still, what an ending, and there is no shortage of formal invention, including the best lighting cinema has ever seen. You might say my biggest problem is that formalists insist on canonizing it. 4 out of 5 stars.
Bendtsen and Dreyer on the set of Gertrud (DFI); Ordet "Danish cinematographer Henning Bendtsen — whose career stretched from the 1940s
The Brooklyn Academy of Music is running a Carl Th. Dreyer retrospective, appropriately and monolithically titled DREYER, from March 13 - March
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 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
Wow. I’m Breathless. “Gertrud” is an absolute celebration of the human life. A woman searches to be loved more than anything else. The long beautiful takes and exquisite lighting make “Gertrud” a true… read review