« Dreyer a pressenti le cinéma futur car il a eu la force de filmer la parole. »

Manoel de Oliveira1


« Gertrud est égal, en folie et en beauté, aux dernières oeuvres de Beethoven. »

Jean-Luc Godard2


“Let’s take the risk of plunging into film without asking permission. Let’s invent our own standards and trust only in spontaneous criticism, which does exist. There are quite a few of us who believe in nothing else. Quite a few of us see the names Carl Theodor Dreyer or Jean-Marie Straub on a poster or a flyer and go to see their films. They are filmmakers whose films the professional critics forbid us to see. That alone is reason enough to go and see them.

In 1964 one of the great film masterpieces, Dreyer’s Gertrud, was killed and buried by the critics (it played in Paris for one week). Who was responsible? You, who believed the critics. Too late.”

Marguerite Duras3


“At once the telling of a dream and a session of analysis (an analysis in which the roles are unceasingly changing; subjected to the flow, the regular tide of the long takes, the mesmeric passes of the incessant camera movements, the even monotone of the voices, the steadiness of the eyes – always turned aside, often parallel, towards us: a little above us – the strained immobility of the bodies, huddled in armchairs, on sofas behind which the other silently stands, fixed in ritual attitudes which make them no more than corridors for speech to pass through, gliding through a semi-obscurity arbitrarily punctuated with luminous zones into which the somnambulists emerge of their own accord...).”

Jacques Rivette4


“In Gertrud (1964), his very last film, Dreyer uses frame compositions to situate characters near sculptures that express or inform on their state of mind – in the scenes in the park, for instance, Gertrud and her young lover are in the vicinity of a copy of the Medici Venus. In addition, the stasis and long-take aesthetics of Dreyer’s later works are worked into a series of tableaux vivants that give the characters a statuary presence. His films play on a certain monumentality of the human figure, that is fixed. In so doing, the characters in Gertrud can be compared with the sculptures that Dreyer filmed for Thorvaldsen (1949).”

Steven Jacobs5


  • 1. Manoel de Oliveira, « Éloge de Gertrud, » Cahiers du cinéma, nr. 557, mai 2001, 102-103.
  • 2. Henrik Stangerup, « L’accueil de Gertrud à Paris, » Cahiers du cinéma, nr. 207, Décembre 1968, 74.
  • 3. Marguerite Duras, « Othon: Jean-Marie Straub, » In: Outside: Selected Writings (Boston: Beacon, 1997), 155-157. Originally published in Politique-Hébdo on January 14, 1971. Translation: Art Goldhammer.
  • 4. Jean Narboni, Sylvie Pierre and Jacques Rivette, “Montage,” In: Jacques Rivette: Texts and Interviews (London: BFI, 1977). Originally published in Cahiers du cinéma, nr. 210, March 1969. Translated by Tom Milne.
  • 5. Steven Jacobs, “Carving Cameras on Thorvaldsen and Rodin: Mid-Twentieth Century Documentaries on Sculpture,” In: Steven Jacobs, Susan Felleman, Vito Adriaensens and Lisa Colpaert (eds.), Screening Statues: Sculpture in Film (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017), 65-83.