Dreyer’s third feature and first great film is a lovely comedy of manners set in 17th-century rural Norway. It charts the intrigue that arises when a young curate awarded a living at a parsonage finds himself also having to wed his predecessor’s widow, Dame Margaret. In pretending his fiancée is his sister and moving her in as housemaid, the new parson seriously underestimates his elderly wife …
“Dreyer learned his lesson well from the two Swedish masters, Mauritz Stiller and Victor Sjöström. Instead of elaborate sets, The Parson’s Widow breathes the air and calm presence of the Norwegian countryside. The camera focuses on tiny details, anchoring itself on the majestic immobility of the 77-year-old Hildur Carlberg, who plays Dame Margaret with quiet good humour and immense inner authority. In many ways the film is one of Dreyer’s most subtle expositions of his favourite theme of loneliness.” (Tom Milne)
Showing as part of a season of Carl Dreyer’s greatest films throughout April.