Hedda Gabler

Jan Decorte’s second feature is a film adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. At the centre of the play by the Norwegian playwright are the Tesmans, who have just returned from a long honeymoon. The woman, Hedda, is pregnant and will be courted by the writer Eljert Lövbor, an old lover who is about to break through with an extraordinary book. Purposeless and disappointed by her marriage, Hedda has doubts about life and struggles with depression, emptiness and disillusion. As in his first film Pierre – which shows us an adult man still living with his old widowed mother – Decorte’s cinema is characterized by cinematic soberness and dedramatized theatricality, similar to Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s early films.


“It’s a sort of acrobatic distance here in Hedda Gabler, the suspense bating your breath (the acting is wonderful!) until it should be released into laughter. There’s a spluttering retelling of a wildly unlikely story, a kooky imitation of melodramatic conflicts, a travesty of critical unriddling, offering this extremely slow, calm countercurrent full of rapids and waterfalls. ”

Dirk Lauwaert1



“Het is een soort acrobatische afstand, die je hier in Hedda Gabler de adem doet inhouden van spanning (er wordt prachtig gespeeld!), tot ie in een lach bevrijd zou moeten worden. Er is een proestend navertellen van een wild-onwaarschijnlijk verhaal, een kolderieke imitatie van melodramatische conflicten, een travestie van de kritische ontraadseling, die deze heel trage, rustige tegenstroming meegeeft vol versnellingen en watervallen.”

Dirk Lauwaert2

  • 1. Dirk Lauwaert, “Hedda Gabler,” Film & Televisie 266-267 (1979) [translated by Sis Matthé].
  • 2. Dirk Lauwaert, “Hedda Gabler,” Film & Televisie 266-267 (1979).