After seeing D. W. Griffith’s epic Intolerance, Denmark’s greatest director, Carl Theodor Dreyer (The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr), was inspired to make his own four-episode historical epic with each story told end to end, anthology-style, linked by theme to the others. The unifying character, Satan, attempts to win God’s favor but is doomed to cheerless participation in dark episodes of human history: the temptation of Jesus, the Spanish Inquisition, the French Revolution and the Russo-Finnish war of 1918.
Tag Archives: Denmark
In the elegant world of artists and musicians, Gertrud ends her marriage to Gustav and takes a lover, the composer Erland Jansson. When he also fails to live up to her idealistic standards, she leaves him and imposes on herself a kind of exile of the heart. In flashbacks and in conversations laced with memories, we also learn of her affair with Gabriel, who still wishes she would go off with him, and we learn of her adolescence, with its early expression of her isolating ideal of absolute love.
Fassbinder: To Love Without Demands / Fassbinder: at elske uden at kræve (2015) Christian Braad Thomsen, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Irm Hermann, Harry Baer, Documentary
Thomsen presents previously unseen interview footage recorded with Fassbinder throughout their fifteen-year friendship, which spans exactly the length of his career – their first encounter was at the Berlinale in 1969 where Fassbinder’s debut was famously booed (you can hear the cries of “Awful!” and “Shame!” on the archive footage), and their last was just three weeks before his untimely death.
In the Sign of the Gemini / I Tvillingernes tegn (1975) Werner Hedman, Ole Søltoft, Preben Mahrt, Cia Löwgren, Comedy, Romance, Erotic
It’s 1930 and two record producers are competing to sign a big contract with the leading singer of the day. One kidnaps the other, thinking it’s in the bag – unaware that his competitor has a twin who will step in to save the day.
Mord i mørket / Murder in the Dark (1986) Sune Lund-Sørensen, Michael Falch, Line Knutzon, Ove Sprogøe, Crime
A journalist is trying to find out about the murder of a friend in Copenhagen’s red light district. The victim was the owner of a bar at Halmtorvet. Soon, his investigations in the world of pimps and petty criminals opens up a pandora’s box of organised crime and the journalist finds himself caught between police and gangsters involved in drug trafficking. The culprit is brought to justice in the end. But the price is high.
Christine – a picture restorer – is terminally ill. While being cared for by those who love her she fades in and out of consciousness remembering things past and imagining herself being reunited in the afterworld with her late husband. Around this main theme the film wraps a scenography of excuisite beauty coupled with references to artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Italo Calvino and Sofonisba Anguissola in order to explore the impermanence of human existance.
Der Frosch mit der Maske / Fellowship of the Frog (1959) Harald Reinl, Joachim Fuchsberger, Elfie von Kalckreuth, Jochen Brockmann, Crime, Thriller
Both Scotland Yard and an amateur American sleuth are tracking a master criminal known as The Frog. This moniker refers to the bulging-eyed mask worn by the evildoer, and is reflected by the frog icons painfully tatooed onto the forearms of his henchmen. The trail leads to the country manor of an enigmatic, steely-eyed nabob, whose repressed son has eyes for the artistes at the Lolita cabaret, and whose lovely daughter captures the fancy of both the American playboy and the villain himself. Murder, kidnapping and seduction ensue.
A young Dane, Erik goes to Greenland to investigate the mysterious death of his brother, whom the natives called “Tukuma” (the one who is always busy). Erik has his own troubles from the past, but during his stay in Greenland he is changed forever, after getting in touch with mother nature for the first time in his life.
A picaresque tale. Odd Horton is dependable and contained: he’s a train engineer retiring after 40 years of service, living a simple life. His idea of adventure is to fly from one city in Norway to another. Starting on the night of his retirement dinner, Odd has a series of dislocating experiences: a boy insists that Odd sit by his bedside while he falls asleep; misadventure causes Odd to miss his last run; he witnesses an arrest; he assists an old man and makes a friend; he takes a trip with a blindfolded driver; he adopts a dog; he takes stock late one night at the roundhouse; he revisits his mother’s disappointment in him. How should he live the rest of his life?