Leaves from Satan’s Book is divided into four episodes set in four different historical eras. In each episode we follow Satan, who has been cursed by God and is doomed to tempt man. He will be redeemed only if he is resisted. In episode 1, Satan in the guise of a Pharisee tempts Judas to betray Jesus. In episode 2, set in 16th-century Spain, Satan is a grand inquisitor who compels a monk, Don Fernandez, to commit a heinous rape. Episode 3 takes place during the French Revolution: Satan is now a Jacobin leader who convinces young Joseph to betray his noble master and thwart a plan that could have saved Queen Marie Antoinette from death at the guillotine. In episode 4, Satan is a former monk who leads a gang of Red Guards during the Finnish civil war in 1918. He threatens to kill the family of a telegraph operator, Siri, unless she helps lure a group of government soldiers into an ambush. She resists, however, committing suicide rather than becoming a traitor. —carlthdreyer.dk
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
"Las páginas del diario de Satán" revela un discurso algo polémico, y es que en lectura de Dreyer, Satán no es más que víctima de un castigo, el de tentar al hombre día a día. Este Satán no es el que goza a la medida que provoca el pecado, sino el que sufre por cómo el hombre cae, tropieza, haciendo que su castigo sea eterno e imperecedero. Otro punto: la mujer, es para el director, símbolo de la pureza.
Like Milton, there are some amazing moments in which both Dreyer and Nissen craft a Satan that finds himself more at the the horrors of humanity than the other way around. There is effective impact of the moments where we don't wish the harm that is coming to have it's full impact, yet we know it will! Fair early melodrama, although Dreyer pulls out before excessive narratizing, except for the propagandistic ending.