A superior follow-up to JOAN OF ARC who's restrained approach is entirely antithetical to the previous film's operatic bombast. In addition, it's also noteworthy for having a anti-heroine who is not treated as being such. Thus, Dreyer takes an objective and distanced look on this story of imprisonment without ever judging the morality of the actions and this ambiguous nature only intensifies her tragic downfall.
A dream combination of several disparate but complementary elements. Dreyer creates a masterpiece at first glance redolent of silent film with its adroit crosscutting, but crucially adds the chiaroscuro and sexual tension of film noir (albeit with a far greater empathy towards women), and heightened all the time by wonderfully intelligent camera movement.
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.
I loved the apparent simplicity in which the story kept unwinding yet how wrought the emotions and relations of each character were building towards the end, it's a very interesting piece to think about afterwards. Also, this film must have been a major influence in Bresson's work.
10 - How great it feels to deem a film to be among your very favourites, only to love it even more on a rewatch. Mind you, that is the only inkling of joy one can realistically squeeze out of "Day of Wrath"; to call it a harrowing experience is tantamount to calling Captain Beefheart a slightly peculiar dude whose music is a little offbeat. The camerawork and framing in this are also nothing short of marvelous.
4.5 - my first dreyer. absolutely lovely in its assessment of sin as perceived by society, the multi-faceted pressures it creates and the potential consequences thereof. the inquisitorial portion of the film is harrowing, wonderful camera work and use of light as means to open up movement and characterization.
That this was made when Denmark was under German occupation in WW2 helps explain the subject of denunciation and dictatorship. That it is so astonishing is wholly down to the artistry on display. The final sequence is truly heartbreaking.