Combustible Celluloid
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With: Nina Pens Rode, Bendt Rothe, Ebbe Rode, Baard Owe, Axel Strøbye, Karl Gustav Ahlefeldt, Vera Gebuhr, Lars Knutzon, Anna Malberg, Edouard Mielche
Written by: Carl Theodor Dreyer, based on a play by Hjalmar Söderberg
Directed by: Carl Theodor Dreyer
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language: Danish, with English subtitles
Running Time: 119
Date: 19/12/1964

Gertrud (1964)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Love Trilogy

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Carl Theodor Dreyer's Gertrud (1964) may be the most multifaceted of his later films, focusing on the middle-aged title character (Nina Pens Rode) who can't seem to find love. She's grown disinterested with her politician husband, spurns the love of a famous poet, chases after a flighty young composer, and loses all three. Once again, Dreyer's silky camera movements capture the very soul of this character on film.

When Gertrud was released, cinema had changed into a faster, hipper, younger medium, and the film was not welcomed. It was considered stuffy and slow. Only the French auteurists at Cahiers du Cinema and America's Andrew Sarris praised the film, and -- of course -- it turns out that they were right. Some priceless home-movie footage included on the DVD shows Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and actress Anna Karina fawning over the 70-something Dreyer at the movie's Paris premiere.

It's available on DVD as part of the Criterion Collection's Carl Th. Dreyer: My Métier box set.

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