Gertrud

Carl Th Dreyer's final film -- though I so wish he'd ever managed to finish his one about the life of Jesus -- abandons the religious themes of his previous work for a conversation of whether love or career are more important in life. A series of conversations. A series of long conversations. Gertrud (1964) represents the end of the downward curve toward static long takes Dreyer took over his career. The film only has about 90 shots, the average length of which is 82 seconds and the longest is nearly 10 minutes. Comparatively, The Passion of Joan of Arc is positively bombastic with it's 3 second average shot length. It's a meticulously staged film, and all the more fascinating for it.

Ordet

Continuing through the Carl Th Dreyer boxset brings us to 1955's Ordet. Meaning "The Word", Ordet is a deliberately paced look at the faith of small town Danes in 1925, a faith challenged and changed by the actions of a young man who believes himself to be Jesus Christ re-incarnate. It's fascinating in that "what is going on, like for real?" way that Dreyer is so good at. That is, the ability to leave unanswered questions without the lack of answers being so frustrating that the whole exercise becomes tedious (see Picnic at Hanging Rock).

The Passion of Joan of Arc

Carl Theodore Dreyer's 1928 film The Passion of Joan of Arc is probably the finest piece of cinema to come out of the silent era, if not the whole of film history. While Dreyer's direction builds the bulwark of that immense praise, his star,  Renée Jeanne Falconetti, is the heart of it. An actor and producer of light stage comedies, Falconetti's dramatic turn as Joan, her only screen acting credit, is one of the finest examples of acting in all of cinema.