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Denmark, 1955 (MIFF 1966, Programme 38)

Director: Carl Dreyer

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 their art evidently rest upon a common foundation. In Ordet, Dreyer gives us a modern morality.

The setting is a small outlying parish on the west coast of Jutland and the film follows the fortunes of a peasant family. One of the sons, a young theology student, after an intensive study of the New Testament and contemporary philosophers, loses his memory and believes that he is Christ come back to earth. . .

The film has controversial aspects, but, by any standards, is a highly accomplished work of cinematic art. The slow pace, the seeming simplicity of style, the low key lighting, all build up the atmosphere to a story which is profoundly moving. Ordet is a challenging film that cannot fail to provoke thought and discussion.

Grand Prix, Venice Festival.

See also...


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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 »

The King's Meadow Garden

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The 1956 Cannes Festival was remarkably rich in entries from famous directors. ^ Yet-in warmth, humanity and poetic sensitivity none could measure up to the first work of an outstanding film-maker ... More »

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