Nine years after the release of his acknowledged masterpiece, Ordet, Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer offered this a story of an individual in search of a measure of personal peace and serenity, which proved to be his last completed film. Gertrud Kanning, like the maid Joan in Dreyer's best-known film, La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, is a woman in isolation. On the eve of her husband's appointment to a cabinet minister post, she announces that she is leaving their loveless marriage. But her younger lover Erland Jansson, a concert pianist, is more interested in keeping their affair illicit than in continuing it in the open. Gertrud's old lover, the poet Gabriel Lidman, offers more than his friendship, but she holds back from turning to him, instead choosing to live out her life in solitude rather than compromise with love again. Adapted from a 1920s play by Hjalmar Soberberg, Gertrud plays out in long takes, with few close-ups and exterior scenes. Though initial critical reaction to the film was largely unfavorable, its reputation has steadily grown, especially considered in the context of Dreyer's long career.
by Tom Wiener synopsis