Auteur Series: Carl Theodor Dreyer

Auteur Series: Carl Theodor Dreyer

The first part of my series on terrific directors of world cinema.

Sporadically, I am going to be installing segments of my “Auteur Series.” They will be quick installments about notable directors with exciting and unique works. They’ll be contemporary or old, foreign or American, pleasing or provocative. There are thousands of great, personal movies out there and I hope these profiles can encourage people to find some of them.

For my inaugural profile, I’ll be looking at Danish Director Carl Theodor Dreyer.


Dreyer was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1889. Given up for adoption by his birth mother, Dreyer recounts his childhood as cold and dispassionate, as his adoptive family was strict and emotionally distant. After getting impressive grades in school, Dreyer pursued journalism and then film.

Favorite Films

"The Passion of Joan of Arc" - considered Dreyer’s first masterpiece, this movie recounts the eponymous saint’s trial and execution. For years, all original copies of this film were thought lost, but in 1981, a print was found in the closet of a Norwegian mental hospital of all places. Dreyer constructed the entire film set, giving him an extreme degree of control over location, angles and lighting. One of the most influential elements of the film is its use of close up. Lead actress Renée Jeanne Falconetti gives a blisteringly emotional and authentic performance as the condemned woman (Dreyer wouldn’t let her use make up in order to help create a more realistic portrayal). Even though silent films tend to turn off a lot of people, the shivering sincerity in Falconetti’s tenuous eyes transcends personal taste or era; it is human and direct.

"Vampyr" - Dreyer’s first sound film plays out like a cold fever dream, with languid atmosphere and ethereal and enigmatic shots. The story follows Alan Gray, a young man investigating vampires and the supernatural. Embracing the mystic and dreamlike quality of the cinema, Dreyer’s paints a world of eeriness and icy dread.

"Ordet"- This movie depicts a Danish family in 1925, a member of which believes himself to be Jesus Christ. Dreyer’s camera hypnotically pans around the quiet milieu, crafting a universe of somber reflection. Simple in its technique, Dreyer communicates profound if challenging conceptions of spirituality.

Why You Should Watch Him

Dreyer’s film communicates the world not as it is, but how we perceive it. Whether through the lens of heartbreaking empathy, surreal otherworldliness, or spiritual transcendence, Dreyer’s cinema tells human stories as humans see them. They might seem slower and less energetic than your average Hollywood picture, but I encourage you to take a moment to detach yourself from hectic living to reflect on your values and empathy. For Christians, the Vatican includes both "The Passion of Joan of Arc" and "Ordet" in their list of greatest films ever made. Dreyer also had an affinity for depicting the psychology of women, something that is harder to find in older cinema. Dreyer’s austere, controlled visions have lasted as profound works of art for decades, and I suspect they will remain for decades to come.

Cover Image Credit: Rare Horror

Popular Right Now

What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.

Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Things To Do When You're So Bored All You Want To Do Is Cry

Do something artsy


Everyone has times when they have nothing to do and boredom strikes way too hard. From experience, I have found some top things to do when you literally have nothing else to do!

1. Clean

Not super fun, but will keep you busy.

2. Netflix

Find a new show to binge watch. Watched them all? Rewatch something you haven't seen in a while!

3. Shopping

Retail therapy can always keep you busy.

4. Make a home cooked meal

Spend some time in the kitchen and make something yummy! Even invite some friends.

5. Visit friends/ family

Pop in on some people you care about that you haven't seen in a while!

6. Write

Writing is something we all do and is a great way to express ourselves!

7. Exercise

Hit the gym or go for walk, do something to keep you nice and fit.

8. Volunteer

Go to an animal shelter, food bank, museums, or anywhere in your area that needs help.

9. Look for a job

If you're bored, maybe getting a part time job will keep you a little occupied. Plus it's extra money in your pocket.

10. Draw/ do something artsy

Even if you think you're a bad artist, drawing is something fun to do! You'll get better in time.

11. Join an Odyssey Team!

Writing articles through the Odyssey is an amazing experience and can always keep you busy!

Related Content

Facebook Comments