Though its Paris premiere provided a hostile reception, Dreyer’s final feature was soon recognised as another masterpiece, a coolly stylised study of a proud and passionate married woman loved – but, she insists, not nearly enough – by four different men. Long, fluid takes and elegant lighting, teasingly oblique dialogue and deftly modulated performances together create a meditation on love and disenchantment that is at once insightful in its details and mysterious and affecting in its abstractions. Cinema as poetry, pared back but richly resonant.
“From the vantage point of hindsight on a career that has been fulfilled, it is difficult to see how Dreyer could have probed more radiantly into his chosen theme than in this summation where Gertrud speaks for Dreyer and all his heroines when she says ‘I have known love’. Gertrud is the sort of majestic, necromantic masterpiece that few artists achieve even once in their lifetimes.” (Tom Milne)
Showing as part of a season of Carl Dreyer’s greatest films throughout April.