Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Gertrud 1964

Visually, it looks like Ozu. Both the character and appearance of Gertrud resemble Kim Novak in Vertigo. The film has the same miasma of eroticism as Hitchcock's film. Interestingly, this is Dreyer's last film, at age 75, and a departure from his previous religious themes. It is a visually arresting film, whether in the composition of interiors and gardens or the poses struck by the human figures, as they slowly declaim their lines to the audience, rather than each other. Love itself is the theme, and what distinguishes is the presentation, rather than the substance. Not the usual stuff, nor forgettable. That apart, the film is at best about the pathetic absurdity of life lived on shallow premises, which, the film maker, going by his previous work, must surely have known. Unworthy, perhaps, as a swan song, for so accomplished an artist. On the other hand, as cinema, in perfection of form, it could be the best. It has the austere luminescence of Persona, sans its volubility. Could Dreyer have intended satire?


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