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.