Day of Wrath ★★★★

A 16th century study of the eggshells-walking that endures when living under oppression, or a subtle, unbearably tense horror story of witchcraft -- Dreyer gives us just enough of a compelling, haunting narrative here that it can become a number of different stories upon reflection, but all of them with the same strange sense of dread, erotic charge and often terrifying extremity. It is so gripping, and so reliant upon tiny details that dramatize a story underneath the overarching narrative, that you have to remind yourself to take a breath. A film that contains little and implies entire worlds. The prologue, about the execution of the witch portrayed by Anna Svierkier (who gives a truly great, brave performance on the order of Falconetti) is the stuff of the most harrowing nightmares. Yet you can also comprehend an interpretation in which this is among the most romantic films of all. Each character has their own narrative, and each of these narratives is in some way enough to choke you up, make you recoil, or disrupt your sleep. This is the cinema of empathy, of incompatible empathies.

I will be better at writing about this when I see it again.