Saturday, 4 October 2008

Quote(s) for the Week/Candlelight Part II

Last weekend I finally found the time to sink my teeth – no pun intended - into the new Masters of Cinema Vampyr DVD (which, by the way, is fantastic and also my hot tip for DVD of the year, if not the decade – seriously, this package takes a lot of beating). As is usual for me, after watching the film I then got started with the features and set about reading everything I could on the film, notably, in this case, David Rudkin's BFI monograph on the film. My schedule this week hasn't left me time to read much else, so, if you'll excuse the second Dreyer-orientated post in as many weeks, I'm going to nominate two quotes from Dreyer as my Quote(s) for the Week...

'How is it even possible to make two films of the same tenor right after each other? One puts too much into the first one to do that' – Carl Th. Dreyer, quoted in Waking Life by Casper Tybjerg, in Sight & Sound, September 2008.

'What interest me – and this comes before technique – is reproducing the feelings of the characters in my films...The important not only to catch hold of the words they say, but also the thoughts behind the words. What I seek in my films, what I want to obtain, is a penetration to my actors' profound thoughts by means of their most subtle expressions. For these are the expressions...that lie in the depths of his soul. This is what interests me above all, not the technique of cinema' – Carl Th. Dreyer, quoted in The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 4th ed. by David Thomson, page 253.

While I'm on the subject of Dreyer and Vampyr: in his monograph, Rudkin points out another metaphorical use of candles by Dreyer. Here, Rudkin rightly deduces, the candles are being used as a metaphor for the 'protector' of the house [Spoiler Alert]: When the Lord of the Manor, the 'man' and 'protector' of the house, is shot dead, he drops his candelabra and his candles are extinguished. When Gray is asked to stay in the house, and thus take on the father's vacant mantle as 'man' and 'protector', one of the first things he does is light some candles, hence symbolising his assumption of this role.

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1 comment:

Dan Edwards said...

Vampyr is now officially on my birthday list. Thanks for reminding me. Speaking of which, BBC 4's Film Programme had a piece on the film. Check it out here: