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Carl Theodor Dreyer’s
MICHAEL

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FILM FORUM EXCLUSIVE: PIONEERS OF QUEER CINEMA

Leontine Sagan’s MÄDCHEN IN UNIFORM

VICTOR AND VICTORIA (ORIGINAL 1933 GERMAN VERSION)

Carl Theodor Dreyer’s MICHAEL

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MUST END THURSDAY, AUGUST 27

Director Carl Theodor Dreyer
Cast Benjamin Christensen, Walter Slezak, Nora Gregor
Screenplay Thea von Harbou, Carl Theodor Dreyer
Cinematography Karl Freund, Rudolph Maté
1924 | Germany | Approx. 93 min. | German, with English subtitles

(1924) Based upon Herman Bang's 1902 novel, legendary Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer (The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr, Ordet) refashions the classical Greek myth of Jupiter and Ganymede into a love triangle between aging artist Claude Zoret (played by Benjamin Christensen, Swedish director of Häxan), his male model Michael (played by Walter Slezak – later a Hollywood character actor, best remembered as the Nazi in Hitchcock's Lifeboat) and Countess Zamikow (played by Nora Gregor, of Renoir’s The Rules of the Game), an aristocratic femme fatale as entranced by Michael's youthful beauty as Zoret is.

Co-written by Fritz Lang’s wife Thea von Harbou (M, Metropolis), with cinematography by Karl Freund (Metropolis, The Last Laugh) and Rudolph Maté (The Passion of Joan of Arc, DOA).

Presented with support from the R.G. Rifkind Foundation Endowment for Queer Cinema.

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Reviews

“An engrossing hybrid of romantic decadence and spiritual austerity. Closeups of burning intensity and opulent tableaux of frozen horror suggest the great director's transcendent theme, of divine grace granted and withheld.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Many critics have chosen to downplay the film's gay subtext, but to do so would deny the power of Dreyer's fastidious attention to the polarity of love's vicissitudes.”
– Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine