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Day of Wrath


Carl Theodor Dreyer


We get to watch the family of Rev. Absalon Pederssøn in 17th century of Denmark with protestant reform already established. Absalon is a Lutheran pastor in a small Danish village and beside he is part of the inquisition trials. He saved his second wife's mother from burning at the stake only to marry Anne who didn't love him and married him out of gratitude. We see his second wife Anne, much younger than Absalon who is seemingly meek, humble, obedient but in reality she is very unhappy in marriage and her soul is screaming help. Then Absalon's mother who hates the guts of Anne and she can see her true colours. In the end Martin, Absalon's son, easy to be manipulated and lured into the tragedy.

Anne is enjoying the little moments with her husband's son Martin. She falls in love with him and she is very happy and doesn't want to think about the consequences of her relationship. We can clearly see she is avoiding the issue:

Anne, how will this all end?
Kiss me.

or

Why are you so quiet?
Say something.
Did he know?
What do you mean?
Did he know that you and I...
You told him.
He knew.That's why he called out to me.
I am cold! Keep me warm!
I still hear his voice.
Father. Father.
Are you weeping for him?
Or me?

We observe this tragedy in the shadows of inquisition trial of old woman and her death by burning and the death of an old man that is receiving Anointing of the Sick from Absalon. As if to say how all this situation leads to death and disaster. And indeed, after Anne reveals the bitter truth to her husband he dies right then and there.

I don't think this all was Anne's fault considering the circumstances and how her personality was constituted. Martin was also weak and could stop the disaster however was already too deep in lust and love. Mother was right but her transparent hate towards Anne only accelerated the event. Absolon was too busy with serving church to actually realize something.

I love this film with its truth and relentless look into a human's soul. I will definitely rewatch it and it is a keeper for me.