ORDET. (1955)

The penultimate film by the Danish master Carl Theodor Dreyer is a parable on the power of faith, set in a remote religious community.

Stills must not be reproduced, copied or downloaded in any way. Hard copies of some images can be bought via the BFI Printstore and the complete collection can be accessed for commercial reuse via BFI Stills.

Film details

Alternative titles

  • ORDET, LA PAROLE Alternative
  • The WORD Alternative

Cast & Credits

Introduction

“Ordet is a highly accomplished work of cinematic art. Dreyer’s formal and technical mastery, the seeming simplicity of his style, and the depth of the film are overpowering.” Jonas Mekas, Film Culture, 1958

Ordet was the only film Carl Theodor Dreyer directed during the two decades between Two People (1945) and his final film, Gertrud (1964). With Gertrud, it represents the apotheosis of his controlled visual style, consisting of long, uninterrupted takes, with one shot often sufficing for an entire sequence. The 124-minute running time contains only 114 shots.

The film focuses on a devout parson and his three sons, the eldest of whom, Mikkel (Emil Hass Christensen), has rejected God altogether, while his sibling Johannes (Preben Lerdorff Rye) has had a breakdown and thinks himself to be Jesus.

Based on a 1932 play by Kaj Munk, the material is transformed by Dreyer into uniquely slow, hypnotic cinema that examines the nature of believing. The ending ranks among the medium’s most beautiful and mysterious.

Carlos Reygadas’ Silent Light (2007) borrows the audacious climax of Ordet for its own story of an austere religious community.

Available to buy

  • Ordet

    Ordet

    Carl Theodor Dreyer’s beautifully photographed tale explores the religious intolerance and familial tensions within a Danish farming family.

More information

Back to the top