Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
Nine years after the release of his acknowledged masterpiece, Ordet, Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer offered this a story of an individual in search of a measure of personal peace and serenity, which proved to be his last completed film. Gertrud Kanning, like the maid Joan in Dreyer's best-known film, La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, is a woman in isolation. On the eve of her husband's appointment to a cabinet minister post, she announces that she is leaving their loveless marriage. But her younger lover Erland Jansson, a concert pianist, is more interested in keeping their affair illicit than in continuing it in the open. Gertrud's old lover, the poet Gabriel Lidman, offers more than his friendship, but she holds back from turning to him, instead choosing to live out her life in solitude rather than compromise with love again. Adapted from a 1920s play by Hjalmar Soberberg, Gertrud plays out in long takes, with few close-ups and exterior scenes. Though initial critical reaction to the film was largely unfavorable, its reputation has steadily grown, especially considered in the context of Dreyer's long career. ~ Tom Wiener, Rovi … More
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as Gertrud Kanning
as Gabriel Lidman
as Gustav Kenning
as The Kennings' Maid
as Kenning's Mother
as The Rector Magnificu...
as Erland Jansson
as Axel Nygren
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Critic Reviews for Gertrud
Dreyer's film depicts repressed carnal desires that merge with Gertrud's inevitably frustrated spiritual one: the longing for a love so total and consuming that it contains the seeds of its own destruction.
Nina Pens Rode has the right luminous quality for the romantic, uncompromising Gertrud, while the men are acceptable if sometimes overindulgent in their roles.
In his best films there has always been an underlying human concern that sustained us through any longueurs of execution. Here, under the slow, posed pictures, there is nothing but the dated theme described above.
Gertrud... is more museum piece than masterpiece, for this muted and stately study of a woman's quest for perfect love already seems to have been gathering dust for decades.
Audience Reviews for Gertrud
morose, but the characteristic cadence and sensitivity of Dreyer's mise en scene can always captivate the heart.
In "Gertrud," Gustav(Bendt Rothe) is excited at the prospect of being named cabinet minister. His wife Gertrud(Nina Pens Rode) is alright with this because she sees this as confirmation that he does not love her anymore. In fact, she has already taken a younger lover, Erland(Baard Owe), in plotting an escape plan from her marriage.
"Gertrud" is an immaculately crafted but stagy and talky melodrama. So much so, that the characters cannot but help express their feelings at every turn, overstating the central conflict between men's ambition and women's love.(What Gertrud should be so concerned with is why she is so continually attracted to alpha males.) Even at the time the movie is set at the turn of the 20th century, this is simply a stereotypical view of gender relations. In fact, there have always been ambitious women but in the past those ambitions were limited by the men around them.
I KNOW! Three? THREE?! Yeah, three. I gave the last one five-out-of-five and this one I'm giving three. I would have gone lower, but there are some really good shots and the concept itself is pretty solid.
I hate this review: "This movie is boring." What does that mean? It means that it is not constantly grabbing your attention because your involvement as a viewer is minimal. I'm sorry, but I watched this movie twice because I was bored sh*tless. I kept daydreaming during this movie and then realized that I had missed entire sections of dialogue. Now, I was crazy involved. I've watched all of Humain, Trop Humain and all that is consists of footage of sheet metal being shaped. This movie was crazy dull. Now, I'm going to call Pat out on this movie. This movie is more like a theatre piece than an actual film. The camera rarely moves and the cuts are extremely few and far between. But here's the beef. Theatre requires blocking. This is almost the equivalent of hearing a staged reading. Now, if this was a staged reading, I'd be far more lenient on this movie. But it is not. The camera sits, representing the proscenium and the actors sit and talk. Talk and talk and talk and talk. Personally, I have always considered action significantly stronger than words. Rather, all I hear is about a woman who isn't happy in her relationship time and time again.
I hate to pull this card because Dreyer is significantly smarter than I am. But I saw Dreyer at his best and I honestly believe that this is weaker film. Sure, there's the very likely chance that "I just don't get it", but this movie encompasses the stigma of the Criterion Collection. It feels pretentious as crap and is dull for dullness's sake. I wanted to like it, I just can't say that it's good.
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