Ordet (1955, Denmark, Carl-Theodore Dreyer)
Also: check out our review of Carlos Reygadas's Silent Light for more discussion of Ordet.
Dan Gets the Ball Rolling:
"The conflicts, both internal and external, focus largely upon matters of faith." Largely? Was there a fight in this film over something else that I missed? As far as I could tell, all of the anguish coming down the pipe was flowing from the tap turned by Kierkegaard. Some of the social contests may seem to fall a drop removed from this source, although hardly, but all of the psycho-dynamics are dripping directly into the well of Protestantism-in-crisis.
With all due respect, I find that your approach to this lacks clarity when you say, for example, that "Ordet distills the religious conflicts of a nation to that of a single family." In the first place, this is simply not the case. The distilled unit is actually the village. But the deeper issue is not this or that geographic entity or class-stratified societal structure or even local personal divisions. What is at stake is the brotherhood of believers as the Platonic highest reality.
The resurrection in Ordet is not one hell of a third act magic show. It's a miracle! A real-for-true miracle. And it is witnessed by all collectively. It instantaneously removes all individualistic doubt, all Protestantism-in-crisis separation from others and from God. Not a private conversion no better than a UFO sighting. This is a complete public or genuinely (small "c") catholic transformation. Not a matter of inner soul-searching, meditative contemplation, a-rational intuition or hyper-rational idealism. The pure faith of the people is restored by way of their common sense. This is the great power that charges Ordet - sense so common, it belongs as much to fools as to wise men, as much to children as to adults, even as much to crazy suspects as to cool calculators. A miracle levels the playing field. Damn straight.
To clarify, when I say the religious conflicts of a nation are distilled down to that of a family, it passes THROUGH the village on the way down to the family, if you get my drift. The family is the FINAL level of microcosmic distillation, so to speak. The buck stops there.
Finally, for those who are interested in connecting the dots review-wise, here is where you'll find our discussion of Carlos Reygadas's riff on Ordet, 2008's Silent Light.