Friday, June 15, 2007

Ordet (1955)

Sorry, folks, this one ain't working. I mean, I love Carl Theodor Dreyer, but this stodgy thing doesn't even belong in the same room as the other films of his I've seen. Adapted from a play, it never quite sheds its earthbound origins; while Dreyer manages to overcome the stagy constraints early on with imaginative direction (i.e. Johannes saying, " that my light may shine in the darkness," followed almost immediately by a character blowing out the candles in the room), he eventually loosens his grip, and the film collapses into a series of scenes where people declaim at one another in static medium shots. Furthermore, the cast is seriously lacking -- while heavy drama of this nature doesn't exactly require a Jerry Lewis type, it does require a pulse, but the actors in this give calcified performances that suggest swimming through tar. I get the deliberateness, and I get the themes -- considering that the line, "Miracles don't happen anymore," gets intoned twice, I can't see how anyone couldn't get the themes -- but I'd like to think that there's some sense of life within the films I watch, and I'm not getting that here. Maybe I need to see this on the big screen or something.

Grade: C


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