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Carl Theodor Dreyer

Friday, December 10, 2010
7:00 p.m. Two People
Carl Th. Dreyer (Sweden, 1944-45)

(Två Människor). For many years Dreyer had wanted to make a film with only two actors; hearing about the idea, the director of Svensk Filmindustri invited him to Stockholm to create it. A fascinating attempt at streamlining domestic tragedy to its essence, the film is constructed around a single day, and tells a rather florid tale of a husband and wife, an affair, blackmail, poison, and more. Dreyer was somewhat hampered by the casting choices: the two actors he discovered were turned down, one because she wasn’t beautiful or famous enough (Anders Ek, who ironically would become one of Swedish cinema’s greatest actresses), the other supposedly because his Adam’s apple was too large. The film ran for five days before it was withdrawn from theaters, and Dreyer refused to let it be screened during his lifetime; it remains one of the director’s rarest works.

—Jason Sanders

• Written by Dreyer, Martin Glanner, based on the play Attentat by W. O. Somin. Photographed by Gunnar Fischer. With Georg Rydeberg, Wanda Rothgarth. (74 mins, In Swedish with English electronic titling, From Swedish Film Institute)

Preceded by short:
They Caught the Ferry (De Naede Faergen) (Denmark, 1948). A motorcyclist and his date dart through the Danish countryside in a race against time—and Death, in this intoxicating safety short made for the government, cut to the rhythms and roar of the speeding cycle. (12 mins, In Danish with English subtitles, From Danish Film Institute)

• (Total running time: 86 mins, B&W, 35mm)