1921-1930

Janus Sørensen – Grønlandsfilmen aka Elfelt’s Greenland film (1928)

A Danish documentary about Greenland. Filmed by Janus Sørensen for Elfelt Film. Peter Elfelt takes an important place in the history of Danish cinema as being probbly the first documentarist in Denmark and a great deal of his films are about Greenland.

Hard to find much info on this one. Janus Sørensen has filmed several greenlanders, hunters, ships, lots of nature, settlements, dogsleds, kayaks, camps etc.

No intertitles, no audio. Just a series of beautiful locations. The black/white looks amazing in the Greenlandic context. Read More »

Ewald André Dupont – Das alte Gesetz aka This Ancient Law (1923)

Baruch Mayr, son of an orthodox rabbi from a poor shtetl in Galizia, decides to break with the family tradition and leave the shtetl to become an actor. Due to this behaviour his father bans him from his family. Baruch, who joined a small burlesque troupe is discovered by an Austrian Erzherzogin (archdutchess) who introduces him to the director of the most important Theater in Vienna, the Burgtheater. Baruch receives a contract there and becomes more and more an assimilated jew. Read More »

Carl von Haartman – Korkein voitto AKA The Highest Prize (1929)

Ferdinand von Galitzien’s review from the IMDb:
The Baron Henrik von Hagen is an idle Finn bourgeois (as you can see, decadent people are all over the world…); after eleven years, he meets again an old acquaintance, Madame Vasilyevna, a foreigner who during her youthful days was a ballet dancer while Herr Baron was her faithful cavalier. Once they are reunited again in Helsinki, Herr Baron discovers that Madame Vasilyevna earns her living with a new hobby: she likes very much painting frozen Finn landscapes but especially the ones around military bases. Read More »

Slatan Dudow – Zeitprobleme: wie der Arbeiter wohnt AKA How the Berlin Worker Lives (1930)

Synopsis:
This documentary shows how the Berliner workers lived in 1930. The director Slatan Dudow shows through images: a) the workers leaving the factory; b) the raise of the rents; c) the “unpleasant” guest, meaning the justice officer that brings the eviction notice; d) the fight of classes of the houses of capitalists and working classes; e) the parks of the working class; f) the houses of the working class, origin of the tuberculosis and the victims; g) the playground of the working class; h) the swimming pool for the working class, ironically called the “Baltic Sea” of the working class; i) the effects of humidity of basement where a family lives, with one member deaf; j) one working class family having dinner while the capitalist baths his dog; k) the eviction notice received from an unemployed family and their eviction. Read More »

Jean Epstein – Le lion des Mogols (1924)

The first film Epstein made for Albatros stars Ivan Mosjoukine as a Mogul prince in exile. After getting caught up in such vices of the Occident as drinking, movies and women, the prince eventually returns to his Khanate and to his waiting bride. Read More »

Jean Epstein – La belle Nivernaise AKA The Beauty from Nivernais (1923)

Plot from IMDb:
Bargeman Louveau finds an abandoned boy, Victor, and with the authorities permission takes him back to his own family where he raises him. 10 years later Victor and Louveau’s daughter Clara have fallen in love, and it is then that Louveau is called to Paris, where it has been discovered that Victor is really the son of Maugendré, a charcoal shipper on the Nivernaise canal. Meanwhile, Victor protects Clara when a jealous bargehand attacks her and he manages to save the family barge from crashing into the lock. Returned to his real father, Victor is sent away to be educated but misses Clara and his life on the barges. When Maugendré realizes this he lets him return and when they are married he gives Victor and Clara a barge of their own. Read More »

Jean Epstein – Six et demi onze (1927)

Quote:
Female infidelity leads a man, Jean, to commit suicide. When he is dead his brother, Jerôme, starts having an affair with the same woman, Mary. But… there is a photography left of her first brother, who the second is getting closer to finding – hence the title (6,5 X 11 – an film negative format).

Wonderfully photographed with moving camera, superimposed pictures and a contrast that leaves nothing to be desired. Interesting use of the close-up to emphasize the story as well. And notice the use of the mirror to show how the story is about to repeat itself. The mice-en-scene could, throughout the film, be though to have come directly from a display of state-of-the-art modernist interior design architecture – stunningly beautiful. The men in this film all wear lipstick, silk garments and nail-polish in their very chic upper-class fashion. Oscar Wilde would not be let down. Do not miss this film, should you ever get the chance to see it. Read More »