Tuesday, January 03, 2012

134 - Day of Wrath (1943)

DVD Box
Day of Wrath is based on the true story of a witch hunt in 17th Century Denmark.

A woman convicted of being a witch is burned on the pyre but not before she reveals she is aware of a cover-up from local pastor Absalon Pedersson who saved his young wife's - Anne - mother from a similar fate.

Meanwhile, Absalon's son Martin returns home from abroad and he falls in love with Anne, with Anne wishing her husband dead in order to run away with Martin. After Absalon dies, will Martin take sides with his lover, or join his family and condemn her of witchcraft?

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Much like any witch-based struggle, Day of Wrath demonstrates the unerring image of good against evil, of right against wrong and of belief against justice. Clearly the audience is aware that witchcraft is scaremongering in order to brutalise women in spite of their innocence around this period.

Many parallels can be drawn to one of my personal favourite films of all time - The Crucible - not least because of the matching themes but mostly because of the way they both use injustice to fuel the emotion inside of the movie.

Director Carl Theodor Dreyer uses his limited number of sets very well, exploring both the freedom and restrictions of women in this period. In one scene Anne is frolicking with her husband's handsome son, before dressing in the more appropriate attire to welcome back her husband - the man who took her as a child to marry her.

It is these conflicts within the film that make it so very difficult to understand and, in places, watch. However, if you stick with it you'll be greatly rewarded with a moral masterpiece.

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