Tag Archives: carl theodor dreyer

Vampyr– Der Traum des Allan Grey – Vampire: the Dream of Allan Grey (1932)

vampyr

quickflick-1.jpgI’ve been meaning to re watch this classic for a number of years, I remember watching it when I was likkle and not really understanding what it was all about and being black and white I don’t think my brain could really process what was going on.

So it was on the to purchase an watch list, and I finally made it there and I feel that I’ve cheated myself. It’s utter perfection, the frivolity of the light and dark shadows, the imaginative camera work and effects, blending in shadows and, mystical dream sequences all depicting the haunting nature of the vampire.  Before the myth was funnelled into Dracula or sexy vampires this falls into the category of folklore and when you go back to our more primal fears surrounding monsters things tend to be more eerie.

Carl Theodor Dreyer entertains a more nightmarish experience and doesn’t focus in on the vampire herself but instead the effects of vampirism. There are a lot of strange occult experiences going on in this film, originally penned by Sheridan La Fanu, who also brought us Camilla and In a Glass Darkly. It’s hard not to connect this with other classics like Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920)  just due to the spectacular visuals but everything is much softer, almost playful like a fairy-tale but with a very dark story.

Originally written as a gothic novel it has all of toys firmly in the pram and chucks none away, coffins, skeletons, bats, ghosts, long black dresses, this is really what it was about. To be honest this film doesn’t even need a story it’s just brilliant enough to watch, and if you ever get the chance.. watch it with the soundtrack made by a band called Year of No LIght, there is a version on the tube but buy the album and play the two together.. it will blow your mind.

9/10

Full review coming soon…

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New wave of silent films – an introduction

It pains me when people say they will not watch a Silent film, because there is no speaking at all, and they won’t give these movies a chance. There is so much beauty to behold . Do they not understand how much talent it takes to be able to convey emotions without a single word uttered…that is art, beauty, a kind of magic.

Still from “Vampyr” Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1932

Its not a popular style of movie anymore but its very interesting to see that there are regular silent movies reaching through the market on a regular basis. We see black and white movies all the time but even if a film is in colour but has little in the way of dialogue it’s not as popular, it’s not classed as being as entertaining!? Why is that? I know a lot of people like to be force fed a story, if they have to interpret it for themselves then they think something is suspicious!? It’s alright to make up your OWN mind about a movie, the intentions the meanings etc.

It’s quite funny when there is a quiet moment in a movie, a moment that hangs on for a few more seconds than usual and people start looking around, not quite sure if the sound has gone wrong, they struggle to understand what’s really going on. I remember the beginnings of There Will Be Blood (2007) and No Country For Old Men (2007), confusing the crowds I watched it with. It’s impressive that the lack of sound can be as vital as what is heard.

Most silent movies have an impressive soundtrack, long are the days of the single piano player tinkering on to a damsel being tied to a railway track (although I’d like to note that there was such a movie shown at the Abertoir film festival in 2012). But lots of the emotions and dialogue are replaced by music, films like THX1138 (1971) and Last of the Mohicans (1992) have instrumental versions, which I think are quite inventive and should branch out to more movies, like Blade Runner (1982), the Piano (1993) or Flash Gordon (1980), after all the composers of these movies are also highly regarded for their musical abilities.

Here’s a list of a few movies regarded as being silent in the modern age. (as always no particular order)

  • Belleville rendezvous (2003)
  • The Artist (2011)
  • Essential Killing (2010)
  • Valhalla Rising (2009 )

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