Irish Film Institute -MICHAEL



89 minutes, Germany, 1924, Subtitled, Black and White

Remarkable for its three leads (the director of Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages, Benjamin Christensen, and the barely recognisable future stars of Lifeboat and La Règle du jeu) and its near-explicit treatment of homosexual desire, this account of a love triangle (a painter, his muse/adopted son and a Russian princess) finds Dreyer using the claustrophobic, ornate interiors of the artist’s home to Expressionist effect. With its array of ambiguous yet revealing looks and gestures, the film – shot by the dream team of cameramen Karl Freund and Rudolph Maté – offers an unflinching but deeply humane look at blind passion and cool betrayal. 

“Probing deep down for the fears and longings that were to become a recurring refrain in his work, Dreyer somehow coaxed, chiselled and moulded an unruly narrative into a perfect unity illustrating the almost religious mystery behind the hero’s dying words: ‘Now I may die content, for I have seen great love’.” (Tom Milne)

Showing as part of a season of Carl Dreyer’s greatest films throughout April.

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