Looking for a way to celebrate Labor Day? Why not attend a screening of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Day of Wrath (1943) at IFC Center? In an effort to honor the film’s 65th anniversary a brand-new restoration (each frame of the original negative was cleaned and digitally scanned to create a new 35mm print), the film will be playing at New York City’s IFC Center from August 29th to September 4th. Called “one of the most completely moving films ever made” by film critic Pauline Kael, seeing Day of Wrath is not only a chance to view the work of a true auteur but also an opportunity to view something that is a part of history, since it was filmed in Nazi-occupied Denmark right before Dreyer fled.
The themes of the film deal directly with the historical context that Dreyer knew; telling the 17th-century story of an aged parson’s young wife, who finds herself undeniably attracted to her stepson while the clergy of her village are heatedly involved in the pursuit of witchcraft. Described as a “damning critique of power disguised as morality” the film was a commentary on the Nazi rise to power, but it remains timeless and its messages still resonate today. While being both thematically weighty and artistically constructed, Day of Wrath is still a good choice for viewers looking to have fun; witch hunters, a love triangle and a deadly betrayal all offer plenty of high-quality entertainment.