A Word About “Ordet” (The Dreyer Film)

Carl Theodore Dreyer‘s Ordet (“The Word”, 1955) is tedious and too theatrical—it is adapted from a play—but also sufficiently strange to end with an astonishing miracle the likes of which humanity never sees anymore.  The film shows us the persistence of religious faith despite what life does to ordinary hopes and pursuits:  possessing a sane mind, having a healthy family, getting married.  But it shows us, too, a madman who thinks he is Jesus Christ before he recovers his sanity (unlikely) performing the aforementioned miracle.  He necessarily performs it through the power of Jesus Christ (and certainly not through his own power).  Dreyer seems to believe that because God is able to create the universe, He can also work any kind of miracle, and he’s right.  His approach for conveying this, however, is not very palatable.

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