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Gertrud (Carl Theodor Dreyer) 1965

    Not exactly entertaining, but quite compelling and incisive in its themes, Gertrud is a lesser film than Dreyer's earlier Ordet, though not by much. Like Ordet, the film's characters are archetypes, but somehow transcend them. I think Dreyer's sound films are amazingly adept at establishing an "at the speed of life" pacing that lulls us into thinking we're watching real people with real concerns as the themes leap into universal territory. Gertrud's character is one of the most interesting pre-feminist women I've seen in cinema and I think Dreyer's refusal to judge her in any way saves the film from being the bore that many seem to find it.

    The film's stylistically bold, though it's not in any way garish. Rather than use close-ups, cuts, and an overabundance of score, Dreyer lets light and methodical camera movements make his world come alive. I would imagine that many would find it unwatchable, or would incorrectly deem it uncinematic, but it understands the language of cinema better than nearly any film that I've seen. Every cut, every pan, every zoom matters.

**** - Masterpiece