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Dreyer Diary #2: "Wrath"

The Brooklyn Academy of Music will be running a Carl Th. Dreyer retrospective, appropriately and monolithically titled DREYER, from March 13 - March 31. Here you will find my quick notes as I plunge in deep with the Dane. I hope we learn something as we march forward (and step back) with care.
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Where can we sit in comfort to watch something like Day of Wrath (1943)? It is certainly not the cinematheque. Nor is it a bed. Recliners sound about right, but I feel a lack sitting solitary. In fact, I'm wary of couches, too, for this vision. I wanted to abandon my drowsy body throughout the film—to just be my eyes—and float with the camera, but I'm happy I saw the film with people.
There must be witches. There is no reason to doubt their presence: not in 1943, not in 1623. We ought to believe in them as Dreyer does not explain, we know; he rather offers a fiber of perspectives on events. The first "scene" is one long shift left, as if transposing a chord down a scale one paused step at a time, where the camera first turns curious by inches then glides invisible through a wall we saw angled and "real" at our fade in. In the bow of a boat, two young lovers so thick against the other cannot form together and their separate bodies double that bent tree's reflection to further cloud their love. Later, we observe them from behind, a pair of shadows talking against a mist backdrop. So many "characters" look like heads floating over their bodies, hardly tethered, just figures (just things) to track. And when the young girl runs, she bobs like a ghost: the image curls, falls away and pushes, confuses whether we follow her or if she chases the camera.
I know I heard the film well (all those bells, the scratch of winds), but I was not prepared: I will need to see this odd, relaxed film again. I wish I knew how to sit. Then I might be able to see better.
As is, the film is a fantasy: hazy, truly bizarre, a pellicular splinter (if that's possible) nestling into my folded sense of how anybody could be ready for it upon its initial appearance, much less now. Is Dreyer the witch? Why is that a bad word? Maybe we need a cellar to screen this thing. Definitely not a loft. It might break the beams.
“Where can we sit in comfort to watch something like Day of Wrath (1943)? It is certainly not the cinematheque. Nor is it a bed. Recliners sound about right, but I feel a lack sitting solitary. In fact, I’m wary of couches, too, for this vision. I wanted to abandon my drowsy body throughout the film—to just be my eyes—and float with the camera, but I’m happy I saw the film with people.” + “I wish I knew how to sit. Then I might be able to see better.” — Just so I’m clear: the way you’ve chosen to cover the MoMA Dreyer retrospective is by posting a series of asinine, idiotic, thoroughly adolescent dribblings such as the above? I can only assume that the standards for film writing have plunged so low (or your site is so hungry for daily content)that someone who only a decade ago would have been mocked as the worst, most ridiculous strain of poetaster is now being freely encouraged to submit his ‘impressionistic’ impressions to keep up some internal quota. There is poetry, there is Farber, there is Daney, there is Breton (there are the French), and then there is this — which is pathetic. (PS: In many instances, a “riled commenter” means that a writer is doing something right. This ain’t that.)
Katt Williams already wrote this: “I can see why they call it a couch. But this (…) right here (…), this a Love Seat. I CAN’T SIT ON THIS UNLESS I’M IN LOVE.”
Gertrud-like! Seeing’s always a matter of mise-en-scene in Dreyer, of course.
Rachael, thanks for reading! Say, I once heard somebody say that life is an adventure of perception. Did you ever hear that one?
I AGREE WITH RACHAEL. I AM DECREPIT AND NEED THE LANGUAGE I READ TO BE AS RIGID AS STONE COLD SHIT. DO YOU EXPECT ME TO PLAY ALONG WITH YOU AND READ YOUR WRITING? THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FILM CRITICISM NOT A GOOD BOOK. YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO WRITE FOR ACADEMICS WHO GRADUATED 30 YEARS AGO, NOT YOUNG PEOPLE THAT CAN EASILY ADAPT TO ALL YOUR COMMAS AND SEMI COLONS AND SHIT. OOPS I AM SO OLD I LEFT MY CAPS LOCK KEY ON AND I DIDNT NOTICE IT BECAUSE I WAS LOOKING AT MY KEYBOARD THE WHOLE TIME BECAUSE I AM OLD.

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