They Caught the Ferry

De Naede Faergez (which translates literally as “They Reached the Ferry”) was a road safety film commissioned by the Danish government, shot by Dreyer five years after Day of Wrath and another six prior to Ordet, his next feature to be shown publicly. It is somewhat regrettable that the version available here is unsubtitled, if only because the precise facts uttered in the minimal dialogue are functional parts of this adept Hitchcockian exercise. Devoted almost exclusively to the tension and exhilaration of speeding down a country road, it is one more demonstration that Dreyer’s art, principally praised for its spiritual qualities, in fact rests on its concrete realisation of material experience. Despite its effective cautionary ending, the general thrust of this short is to convey the excitement of speed along with its dangers — a significant object-lesson for spectators who equate the director with slowness.

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