Mai Zetterling’s radical adaptation of the taboo-filled 1905 novel sees a cagey physician become infatuated with one of his patients who asks for his help in preventing her husband's sexual advances.
Doctor Glas, a gruff middle-aged man almost blinded by cataracts, retreats into crystal clear memories of a pivotal chapter from his life as a young doctor. Tormenting him in his memories is Reverend Gregorius, a patient who he secretly despises and wishes death upon. One afternoon the Reverend’s wife visits the doctor and pleads for him to prevent her husband from forcing himself upon her at night. Aided by his attraction to her, and fueled by his disdain for the Reverend, Doctor Glas decides to intervene.
Mai Zetterling’s third feature film as director again drifts between past and present but is notable for its bold stylistic choices in conveying temporal information. The film is notable for layering temporal shifts, successfully incorporating flashbacks within flashbacks, but also fantasies within flashbacks, with Zetterling’s succinct and admirably coherent play with film language.
Selected to screen in competition at the 21st Cannes Film Festival, Mai Zetterling’s radical adaption of the taboo-filled novel did not go to screen after the festival was abruptly cancelled in solidarity with the student protests and strikes in Paris and across France at the time. Following the selection of her first feature film, Loving Couples, Mai Zetterling became the first female director to have two films selected to screen at Cannes.
– Reece Goodwin, Curator (TV & Special Events)
3 & 18 Jul 2021
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