Quotidian Quintilian on Ordet


I would echo Quintilian’s recommendation of this obscure film. Just watched it this afternoon and was amazed and moved by it. The character shown above had a meltdown from reading Kierkegaard (didn’t we all) and now believes he is the living Christ. And, in a way, he is.

See also: IMDB.

UPDATE: I recently discovered a volume of Dreyer’s screenplays (Four Screenplays, Indiana University Press, 1970) which includes “Ordet.” What follows is the scene where the new village priest meets Johannes, the Kierkegaardian lunatic (p. 256-7):


It is empty. Enter Johannes. He stands and looks round for a moment. Then he goes up to the table, takes one of the biscuits, lifts it in his folded hands and breaks it.

JOHANNES: Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost … (A knock.) Come in.

PRIEST: Ah, good morning, I was just passing, and …

JOHANNES: (as he eats): The Lord be with you.

PRIEST: I beg your pardon?

JOHANNES: The Lord be with you.

PRIEST: Thank you, thank you … (putting down his hat and coat) Are you … perhaps …

JOHANNES: Do you not know me?

PRIEST: Are you the son of the house? (Straightening his tie and smoothing his hair.)

JOHANNES: I am a mason.

PRIEST: Really?

JOHANNES: I build houses …


JOHANNES: … but people refuse to live in them.

PRIEST (in surprise): Do they?

JOHANNES: They want to build for themselves. They want to, but they cannot. And so they live, some in unfinished shacks, others in ruins; while the greatest number wander about without a home at all. Are you one of those who needs a house?

PRIEST: I am the new pastor, my name is Pastor …

JOHANNES (interrupting): My name is Jesus of Nazareth.

PRIEST: Jesus? How can you prove that?

JOHANNES: Thou man of faith, who himself lacks faith. People believe in the dead Christ, but not in the living. They believe in my miracles of two thousand years ago, but they do not believe in me now. I am come again to witness for my Father in heaven — and to work miracles.

PRIEST: Miracles don’t happen any more.

Johannes, who was on his way to his room, stops at the door and turns in his prophetic manner to the priest, who has given up arguing with this mental case.

JOHANNES: And thus speaks my Church on earth … the Church that has betrayed me, murdered me in my own name. Here I stand, and again ye cast me out. But if ye nail me to the cross a second time — woe unto you!

PRIEST (alone in the room, deeply shaken): But this is simply dreadful!

He takes his coat and begins to put it on.

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