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Dreyer is back on the big screen At Copenhagen Film Fest

At Copenhagen International Film Festival it will not only be possible to see the latest film by Denmark’s most significant film director today, Lars von Trier, but also to enjoy the work of the greatest Danish film maker of all times, Carl Theodor Dreyer.

The fact that no less than two of his films - Thou Shalt Honour Thy Wife and Day of Wrath - have been chosen to be part of the official Canon of Danish Art and Culture, underlines that Dreyer’s films play an important part in Denmark’s cultural heritage. The canon has recently been published as book and released on DVD.

The opportunities to see Dreyer’s work on the big screen are far too rare. In cooperation with the Danish Film Institute’s Cinemateket, the Festival is making up for this by showing all his Danish films with English subtitles. The films shown at the Festival are The President, Once upon a Time, Thou Shalt Honour Thy Wife, and Gertrud.

“Dreyer’s strong psychological dramas demand the possibility for absorption that the cinema provides and his visual language deserves much more attention than its has been given earlier”, says Head of Programming Jacob Neiiendam, who hopes many people will take this rare opportunity to see Dreyer’s films.

Dreyer made his debut as a screenwriter in 1912 with The Brewer’s Daughter and directed his first film, The President, in 1919. Dreyer is first and foremost known for his masterpieces La passion de Jeanne d’Arc, Day of Wrath and The Word. His French produced film about Jeanne d´Arc from 1928 was a commercial disaster. Though it is now considered to be his finest work, it made film producers avoid him at the time.

However, Dreyer was highly appreciated in French film circles, and produced films in France as well as in Germany and Denmark. For Day of Wrath (1943) he was nominated for an Academy Award and thus gained recognition in America, but he was still getting a thumbs-down from Danish critics. He only directed three films in Denmark between 1943 and 1968. Dreyer has been an inspiration for many great directors since, amongst them Ingmar Bergman, Lars von Trier and François Truffaut.

The festival hopes to draw renewed attention to Dreyer’s significance, not only by attracting old and new enthusiasts to the Dreyer screenings, but also with an inspiring seminar with Denmark’s leading experts. The seminar takes places on Monday 25 September at The Danish Film School.

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