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Michael (1924)

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Looks like we don't have a dedicated thread for Michael, though it's been mentioned in a few places, notably the William Dieterle thread where Doug C. responds to my having watched Dieterle's Sex in Chains by mentioning that Michael was part of the same series from Kino. I think the arguments for it being "gay" or "gay-themed" or "bisexual" are a bit stronger than Doug apparently did (though I'm reading a decade old response to a deleted comment) and certainly more than Dreyer's biographers apparently did. 

Mostly, though, my review developed into a meditation on critical blind spots, since I found myself not being comfortable at either pole in the forced debate between those who seemingly champion it because it is gay and those who would see the rater latent depiction of homosexuality as stemming from something other than just skirting censorship. 




Gertrud was, in fact, the later Dreyer film that I thought the most about when revisiting Michael thanks to Kino Lorber’s theatrical re-release as part of LGBT pride month. By the time they get around to discussing Gertrud in My Only Great Passion, the Drums appear to have forgotten the notion that Michael is somehow supposed to be singular in the Dreyer canon. Gertrud (the character) is described as “an unhappy and dissatisfied” woman who might only be said to embody the signature Dreyer element of “nobility of spirit” if we see her “ideal” of love as something greater than self for which she willingly sacrifices. How would such an interpretation of Gertrud make her significantly different from the artist, Zoret, in Michael? Gertrud is not presumed to be gay, but like Zoret, she ends the film with a claim that she has “known” love and that “love is all.” (It is perhaps a significant deviation or concession to the unspeakable nature of homosexuality in 1924 that in Michael the protagonist claims only to have “seen” love.) 


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