Thursday, January 9, 2014

427. Gertrud

Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer

Seeing Dreyer in The Book again was like running into someone from your old high school.  For a moment I was like "oh you still, exist!  I mean, it is great to see you!"  It was nice to see Dreyer again since it provided us with what I think is the greatest silent film of all time: The Passion of Joan of Arc.  Still, the reunion was a little...awkward.

Gertrud begins the film by telling her husband that their marriage is over and she is in love with someone else in an excruciatingly long take.  It turns out her lover is kind of a jerk, but that's okay because every man in this movie seems to be in love with her.  Next!

Like I said, the takes are painfully long and almost have an Ozu-esque feel to them.  This worked extremely well for the scenes in this film.  This is particularly true for the scene when Gertrud tells her husband it is over; we feel a bit of the pain and horror that her husband is feeling at that moment.

Still, this film is not without its flaws.  For one thing, we are never given to understand why everyone is so obsessed with Gertrud.  I get that she is pretty but she is such a bitch!  I suppose that is more of a flaw of the male gender than the film, though.

I feel like I am always saying this but some parts definitely could have been cut out.  I swear I am not that impatient but a two hour film about the same silly woman is tiring.

Overall, worth a watch but there is a lot of dead time.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Only 90 shots and one exterior shot.

Available on YouTube:


  1. Good morning Amanda
    I was a little surprised you (slightly) liked this was, knowing your aversion to Scandinavian gloom in the form of Ingmar Bergman.
    Surprisingly this one left me a bit cold...And i'm not even sure i remember all that much about it.. but I certainly didn't 'go for' her at all...

    1. Yeah I think for this film to work Gertrud had to have some sort of "je ne sais quoi" that really wasn't present here. In Moulin Rouge! for example, the character Satine was so entrancing that I understood the allure she had over men. With Gertrud not so much.

  2. The problem here is that Gertrud is a woman who expects 100% (NOT 99.99%)commitment from the men in her life to the exclusion of all else. That is a pretty fantastic idea and of course in real life that does not work. the amazing thing is that her men do not realize this flaw in her, but a blinded by her... I have no clue what.
    Yet, if you understand Danish the dialogue is actually hilarious. So stilted and artificial and suddenly broken by lowbrow exclamations.

  3. This came across to me as a story of a joyless woman who thinks only of herself and lived and died alone as result. But I don't think that's the message that I was supposed to take from the film.

    Interesting what Mr T says about the dialogue being hilarious