Thematically there’s much in common with Dreyer’s masterpiece, the passion of joan of arc, but stylistically it’s hard to find an auteur with two more different best two films
114 shots all over or near a minute in length
Extremely sparse, deliberate and dogmatic in approach—medium shot, mostly interiors in two houses, almost no close-ups
Preben Lerdorff Rye’s performance is really the only one worth talking about. Dreyer, like Bresson after him, liked to strip most of his actors of emotion and have them really be an empty vessel so only the Rye character Johannes—who looks like Christ (spoiler—may be Christ). It’s a brilliant, eerie and totally unique performance. It’s almost mythic or savant-like. I haven’t read this anywhere but knowing his extensive film knowledge, it wouldn’t surprise me if this character/film were the inspiration for Roger Guenveur Smith’s “Smiley”
Wheat in abundance in the outdoor décor- like day of wrath
Sparse but symmetrical and meaningful décor. Wallpaper and portraits on the wall. Clock.
Form in the script- the “miracles” discussion/word is prevalent throughout
The clock can be heard, just like day of wrath, and then of course we have the brilliant cinematic moment where the clock stops during the climax and the brother physically goes and starts it again— great moment
There long stretches that border on banal—certainly deliberate at the very least and it’s not just the deliverable pacing- there’s just not a lot going on to retain the attention of the cinematically literate
Dialogue, performances are paced and stripped—the camera movement and editing all match- in synch completely
Another film from Dreyer on persecution and doubt. Here we have a saint (she’s saintly) who is resurrected
There’s a 360-shot of the Rye character and child. It’s a slow 360 and a complete stunner
Intelligent and formally sound discussion between pastor and doctor on religion and faith
I did not like the out of place wipe edit montage about 100 minutes in looking for the Rye Johannes’s character
Characters are really talking to the air—it takes you out of it until you’ve seen it a time or two or adjust
The décor of the furniture is carefully chose. The coffin. The gorgeous wooden chairs
It’s an old testament fable in modern day
There is a very well-earned wallop of an ending.
Must-See after two viewings. Top 5 of the year quality film.
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