They Caught the Ferry (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1948, Denmark)

They Caught the Ferry is a 1948 short by Carl Theodor Dreyer. The film opens with a title card over a ferry station, where a ferry is arriving. A man on the train asks one of the ferry attendants about the next ferry to Nyborg, which will leave in 45 minutes. The man hops on his motorbike with his lover seated behind him. The ferry arrives in port and the man and woman take off on the bike. We see scenes of daily life in the town of Assens, as the man speeds to get to his next location. Unique for a Dreyer film, the film features rapid cutting, including montage effects of trees, interspersed with footage of the motorbike, its speedometer, and the front wheel from an angle above. 

The man stops for gas, telling the gas attendant he is in a hurry to get to the Nyborg station. The couple is once again on their way soon enough, the rapid style of editing continuing as we see vistas of the Danish countryside. The man and woman pass lots of farm animals along the road. This journey continues, and we feel as though we are riding with this couple on their journey to the ferry station, trying to avoid traffic. The man and woman get into something of a race with another car, leading to a collision, which occurs off-screen. At the site of the Nyborg station, we see two coffins floating in the water, led by a man who is a representation of death. This short was made by the Danish government to discourage speeding on the roads, but it feels in many ways characteristically Dreyer in its transcendent style, and for that reason, Dreyer fans should watch it. However, it will not hold many interests for those outsides of Dreyer completists. 


6/10

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