Day of Wrath

"It has been said that Carl Dreyer's art begins to unfold just at the point where most other directors give up. Witchcraft and martyrdom are his themes-but his witches do not ride broomsticks; they ride the erotic fears of their persecutors…. In 1623 the young second wife of an austere pastor desires his death because of her love for his son; when the pastor falls dead, she is tried as a witch. As the girl is trapped, and as all possibility of hope is stripped away, one's identification with her fear becomes unbearable; then Dreyer dissolves our terror as we see that the individual is now laid bare, purified beyond even fear. It is a world that suggests a dreadful fusion of Hawthorne and Kafka: the young wife becomes what she and the others believe a witch to be. This psychological masterpiece...is one of the most completely moving films ever made."

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