Forms of the intangible: Carl Th. Dreyer and the concept of transcendental style
Abstract:The book Transcendental Style in Film, written in 1972 by future film director Paul Schrader, offers perhaps the most extensive analysis of how a particular film style might have a specifically religious significance. The article provides a critical discussion of Schraders theory, with a particular focus on the films of Carl Th. Dreyer. Schraders ideas are compared to alternative explanations of the same stylistic features provided by David Bordwell and Torben Grodal. The article concludes that while Schrader identifies a number of pertinent stylistic features, the transcendental film is better understood as a subset of the art film mode. Torben Grodals description of the intertwined effect of a salient (often abstract) style and thematic content indicative of higher meaning, coupled with the contribution of a suitably disposed spectator, is, the article argues, more plausible than Schraders analysis.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Copenhagen.
Publication date: June 1, 2008
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