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A DAY OF WRATH

Denmark, 1943 (MIFF 1959, Programme 21)

Director: Carl Dreyer

Carl Dreyer, creator of Jeanne D'Arc and the fantastic Vampyr, is that very rare person in films today — a moralist, classicist, and an incorruptible artist. From the novel by Anne Pedersdotter, this dark, sombre story of witchcraft in seventeenth century Denmark. Day of Wrath, is an example of his impeccable technique, told with all the humanity and power of Dreyer's art.

Absalon Pedersson. Pastor, signs the decree for the trial of the peasant woman. Marthe. The suspected witch takes refuge with his young wife. Anne. whose mother was saved from a similar accusation. Marthe is found, and burnt following a forced confession. Meanwhile, a new strength comes to the previously restrained Anne when she falls in love with her stepbrother, Martin. She defies the contempt of her mother-in-law and. in her anguish. wishes Absalon dead. The Pastor is distressed to the point of self-torture, and he dies of a seizure. admitting that he wronged Anne in marrying her.

Each point in the film is calculated (the faintly ticking clock behind the scene when Absalon is comforted by his mother) and the characters emerge dramatically. Camera and lighting probe the recesses of suffering. The strong individuality. of Drever's work is evident as each scene proceeds with a majestic slowness natural to its self-revelation.

See also...

ORDET

Dreyer has on occassion been described as the Kafka of the cinema. Both artists are devoted to bizarre and exceptional settings, both are decidedly anti-realists. The mental conflicts which motivate ... More »

VAMPYR

Inspiration for the story of Vampyr is credited to Sheridan le Fanu's "In a Glass Darkly". but only one story 'Carniilla" bears any relationship to the film. Rather than from any particular literary ... More »

THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC

The most striking quality of Carl Dreyer's "The Passion of Joan of Arc" is its uniqueness in that no film before or since has been made with such complete singleness of purpose, and few directors ... More »

Espolio

The film is based on the poem, in which a carpenter builds a cross and speaks of his pride in his work and his reluctance to be involved with the situations which bring men to die on crosses. ... More »

The Face of South Africa

By imaginative use of photographs, the film shows many facets of the peoples of South Africa. In youth, adolescence and age, they are shown to us at leisure and work; in joy, sorrow and excitement. ... More »

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