Saturday 14 October 2017

On Blu-ray (soon) - David Hare revives his memory of the silent masterpiece by Carl Dreyer MICHAEL (Denmark, 1924).

The screen at left features Zoret (Benjamin Christensen) and Michael (Walter Slezak) an older man and younger lover about to break up in Dreyer's sublime Michael from 1924.

This masterpiece and my favorite Dreyer has apparently been given a 2K restoration, provenance as yet unknown and Masters of Cinema will be releasing a world first Blu-ray next year. 

The resurrection of this masterpiece (one of my top ten Geoffrey Gardner) is something I never thought I would live to see.

God knows how many years ago I posted this pencil note about the film in another venue:

"It's one of his two greatest masterpieces. Along with Gertrud with which it forms one of the two bookends to reflect and contain Dreyer's total oeuvre, into infinity. One of them is set in a homosexual milieu, the other in a heterosexual milieu. Both of them completely defy any then (or now) current "conventions" of what was possible in being a free soul, even within the relatively liberal mileux in which they were set (20s openly gay Berlin and 50s repressed hetero Denmark) They are both incomparably beautiful and beyond descpription for their times, or even our time. Like Sternberg, and very few artists Dreyer's Michael and Gertrud are both temporally specific and timeless. They are completely, totally beyond any contemtemporary social or polticial discourse for people nowadays, least of all in the gutter of gender politics. These two movies simply exist forever in a potential eternity of cinema. Their artistry and the guiding force behind them is unique and unparallelled in the history of movies.

"The ignorance and the general dismssal of Michael over the years is regrettable. Along with the fate of the (now old and OOP) MoC disc and all the hard work that went into that. I recall hearing about all the remaining warehouse discs of that DVD which were destroyed during those London/Sony warehouse torch riots by the feral mob ten or so years ago."

Carl Th Dreyer, 1926

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