Du skal ære din hustru (1925)
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- Master of the House
- 111 min.
Carl Theodor Dreyer
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Early on, Carl Dreyer shows an interest in female heroism with 1925's Master of the House, in which a tyrannical husband and father is used to showcase two forms of heroism. The touching wife endures pains, inequity and cruelty, and is perhaps a domestic precursor to Dreyer's Joan of Arc. His old nanny is still in the picture, and she takes it upon herself to give him a taste of his own medicine while his wife leaves for much-needed rest. The dominator becomes the dominated, as old "Mads" exerts her female will on him. At this point, the film becomes a bit too didactic for my tastes and suffers from the absence of Astrid Holm's kindness and her husband's unreasonable brow-beating. And ultimately, it's very old-fashioned, not to say retrograde. Dreyer may empathize with female characters, but he's still a man of his time. So the husband only needs to see the error of his ways, he's made compliant by the specter of childhood abuse, and the lesson is that the woman should rule the home because that is her PLACE. Starts off strong, but the characters' humanity gives way to something more tedious (and dated) as the film progresses.
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In 5 official lists
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This movie ranks #48 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?
This movie ranks #56 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema
This movie ranks #192 in UNESCO's Memory of the World
This movie ranks #259 in Paul Rotha's Silent but Not Forgotten
This movie ranks #834 in The Criterion Collection