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.


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).