So, we've taken a bit of a break while I was traveling and then sick and my partner in crime was packing and then moving. BUT! We're settled now and ready to get going again! I basically banned any peeks into the book for my brainmate once I saw the film because it totally gives away the end and, well, the end is what we might call a thing. So, we're also missing an introduction to this film. We'll be back on track completely asap--pinky swear.
Before we get to the end, we have to talk about the beginning and middle. So, I'll try to list what I kind of liked first. It's a simple, easy cinematography that is super appropriate to content and character. No one's trying to be flashy and in my face. I thought the movie felt a bit like a play in that way and, sure enough, the film is based on a play by Kaj Munk. I liked the characters well enough as people.
But there are quite a few problems. First, can we get a movie that's worse for women? Inger is really only in the film to advance the plot. She actually works to move the plot forward--telling Anders to talk to Peter; trying to convince Morten; making the house run; supposedly carrying a male heir who will continue the family; etc. Her death is the punishment for both Morten and Mikkel (as well as Peter, actually) for being the not right sort of religious . . . .and, the end. And poor Anne barely gets a line at all and her mother doesn't get much more. And, the girl child could have just as easily been a boy in terms of character (besides the obvious has to be a girl because the dead child would have been the first male heir).
And, what's up with the delusional people in foreign movies lately? Last round the guy thought he was a cow. This round we have Jesus. And I'm not sure either is actually effective as commentary. Focusing on Ordet, why does Johannes have to think he's Christ? No reason I can determine other than being holier than thou which other characters also think themselves holier than Christ (the actual historical and sacred Christ as well as Johannes psycho Christ) so . . . . Oh, right and the end.
So, the end. It's not a secret that I frequently have HUGE problems with the ends of both movies and books. Hell, toss in TV shows, too. But, this one? Jesus. Except, no. Johannes no longer thinks he's Jesus. As soon as Inger became ill I knew she would die and I basically started chanting, there's no way she's coming back to life there's no way she's coming back to life there's no way she's coming back to life . . . Then Johannes returns to his family "normal" and I thought "super! that's the twist." It's all about being holy and religious in your own way. Except, no, Inger freaking comes back to life. Seriously? I just watched this whole movie that took pains to be meticulously realistic and I get slammed in the face with this bullshit? And here I thought I was watching a serious meditation on religion and its effects on community. I was apparently wrong.
I *suppose* if one were religious, this film might have a different message BUT this is the book of 1001 movies "YOU" should watch before you die NOT the list of 1001 movies that people who were disappointed that the rapture didn't really happen last weekend should watch before being vacuumed to heaven. That last scene totally yanks the rug out of the rest of the movie--and the rest of the movie was decent.
So, why, Master Book must we watch this before we die? Apparently, this film "manages to persuade the viewer that a miracle can happen." Nope. Apparently the film also "leaves it to the spectator to decide whether [Inger's] revivial is a matter of mere scientific inability to understand the improbably or strength of faith." Really? Were you confused? I wasn't just because there isn't really a scientific explanation--in that there is no biological reason that woman sat up after being dead for that long. But "Wherein lies Ordet's greatness: by the time the 'miracle' occurs, the film has earned our respect for its integrity--we understand the people on screen, because their actions, emotions, thoughts, and doubts are like our own." But, no, like the politician who rallies for goodness and sense earns my respect and then plummets into the depths of my disrescpect when child porn is found on his hard drive, so goes this film when its common sense and realism steps aside to reveal not only a "miracle" but a damned absurd miracle.