One of the only Dreyer films I can't exactly praise (four of his works - Day of Wrath, Passion of Joan of Arc, Ordet and Vampyr - could all conceivably be called masterpieces), Gertrud gazes into the life of a woman who wants nothing but all-consuming love, seeks it in the form of a younger man (leaving her artist husband, for whom his art comes first), and is rejected/'destroyed.' It's hard to accurately criticize Dreyer here for the "faults" of the film as every "flaw" is in there on purpose: the staginess, the endless long takes, the painstaking painstaking-ness, the mechanized movements, the near-impossibility of "identifying" with Gertrud (who is full of self-importance and foolish) and her combination of staring off-camera and monotone delivery of her lines to pass as a performance. It may be the most honest, grueling film a director made for no one to like.
Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Year Released: 1964