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Film / Ordet

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Ordet is a 1955 Danish film directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer.

It centers on two families in rural Denmark in 1925. The Borgens run their own farm. Patriarch Morten Borgen has three sons: Mikkel, who is married to the gentle Inger; Johannes, a former divinity student who has lost his mind and believes himself to be Jesus; and Anders, the youngest son who still lives at home. The Borgens practice a rather standard mainstream Christianity, although Mikkel has mostly lost his faith in God. Inger is heavily pregnant, and the family is hoping for a boy.

The other family in the story is the Petersens. Peter Petersen is a tailor. Peter's daughter Anne is in love with Anders and the young people wish to marry. Morten doesn't like the pairing but is outraged when he finds out that Peter has already rejected Anders as a match for his daughter. Morten and Peter have a confrontation, which is short-circuited when Inger goes into a difficult labor.


  • As You Know: A lot of dialogue establishing what's going on, like the exchange between Mikkel and Inger about how John is "27, and incurably mad."
  • Back from the Dead: Johannes actually does raise Inger from the dead.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Johannes reappears after going wandering, back in possession of his wits, but still acting as if he is on a Mission from God. He tells everyone that if any of them actually truly believes in God and asks God to resurrect Inger, He will. Finally Mikkel and Inger's little daughter takes Johannes's hand and asks him to bring her mother back. And Johannes does.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Turns out Johannes can raise the dead.
  • Death by Childbirth: Inger dies, rather surpisingly, after the doctor has pronounced the danger over and gone home.
  • Down on the Farm: Morten is very proud of his farm.
  • Finger-Twitching Revival: The first sign of Inger's resurrection is when her dead hands twitch and unclasp.
  • The Grim Reaper: Not actually shown, but Johannes insists that he is there, and entering Inger's sick room to take her away. Events seem to indicate that he is right.
  • Happily Married: Mikkel and Inger adore each other. Mikkel comes completely apart when she dies.
  • Napoleon Delusion: Johannes is under the impression that he is Jesus. He stares off into space and makes pronouncements about the people's lack of faith.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Morten refuses to let Anders marry Anne—but when he finds out that Peter refused to let Anne marry Anders, he gets angry.
  • Slice of Life: Simple country folk, suffering tragedy and having crises of faith.
  • Title Drop: "Ordet" means "the word", and towards the end Johannes is calling the family to "Give me the word that can make the dead come alive."