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ORDET
1955 - Carl Theodor Dreyer
Denmark
55
Opening Shot

The isolation of this world is established as early as the opening frame as we view an early morning exterior shot outside a family farm. The strikingly beautifully composition of the black and white cinematography (and memorable motifs such as the wind blowing the cloth on the close-line) immediately becomes evident and it remains throughout the entire film (which almost entirely consists of interior shots).

The Film

Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1955 Ordet is a calm and simple film that quietly absorbs the viewer and builds towards it's emotionally breathtaking conclusion. The final twenty minutes of this film will leave the viewer absolutely blown away by it's power. It's truly an amazing achievement of cinematic art. Such a rare and thought-provoking examination of faith and ultimately of existence. The importance of this film transcends into a personal reflection of life. Ordet has the feel and setting of a theatrical play, yet in the hands of Dreyer it transcends to cinematic beauty. Despite being held primarily within one location, Dreyer's visual skills are evident, through the use of slow and long tracking shots. His style and themes (questions of faith) are quite similar to a fellow Scandinavian filmmaker, Sweden's Ingmar Bergman. In terms of visual imagery and photography, Ordet rates among the most beautiful in the history of film. Simply put, this is a masterwork of expressive and artistic achievement. Words do not capture the profound beauty of the film. Ordet is a film to experience and never forget!

The Filmmaker

Considered by many to be the greatest filmmaker in the history of cinema, Carl Theodor Dreyer represents the art of film in it's purest form. Dryer's career spanned 50 years, but he made just 14 feature films. A true perfectionist Dreyer had a distinctive vision that makes him one of the great artists of filmmaking. His films each stand unique on their own but are clearly made from a visionary auteur. Dreyer's work is transcendent and his style minimalist, yet to simply classify them in categories would be to underestimate the power they can generate upon experiencing. Dreyer was abandoned by his father at a young age and spent his early life in a foster home before being adopted. His personal life is very reflective in his work which often focus and sympathize with woman (especially evident in Passion of Joan of Arc and Gertrud- two films in which the woman suffer for their love). Dreyer's films capture the very soul of the characters and ultimately they leave a spiritual impact on the view. His films (both of the silent and sound eras) redefine cinematic narrative and language. After making some of the most original and powerful silent films (most notably 1925s Master of the House, and his final silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc which is very often considered among the very best of the era) Dreyer would continue to break cinematic ground in the sound era with a variety of unique and innovative masterworks. His final two films are often regarded among his finest, particularly his 1955 masterpiece Ordet which is to me his greatest achievement and one of the most moving films I've ever seen. Dryer films are not for everyone. They are certainly slow and unconventional in the way they completely recreate narrative and technique (he is an obvious influence on fellow Scandinavian master Ingmar Bergman). Dryer's films are expressive and breathtaking explorations of the human psychology and of the human soul, that seem to deeply connect with the viewer on an emotional and even a subconscious level.

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