Marcel L’Herbier – Eldorado (1921)

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Synopsis wrote:
The tale of a dancer rejected by her lover and forced to endure other indignities in order to support her child is shown in avant garde style and traditional narrative techniques, with camera angles and architectural design defining the emotional states of the characters. Featuring Eve Francis, Jaque Catelain and Marcelle Pradot. Continue reading

Henri Desfontaines – Belphégor (1927)

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Restored by “La Cinémathèque Française” in 1988

Plot :
A ghost has been seen during the night in the Louvre Museum (Paris), and a guard is found dying near the statue of Belphégor, a god of Moabites and Ammonites. A young reporter, Jacques Bellegarde, begin to investigate but soon he’s being threatened by some letters sent by … Belphégor

It’s a silent mini-serie in 4 parts, after a popular book of Arthur Bernède, in the style of the 1st Fantômas (in fact, René Navarre was Fantômas in the Louis Feuillade’s movie)

Nearly 40 years later, a remake of this serie was made with Juliette Greco and met a great success in France, and is much better known that this one. Continue reading

Jean Epstein – Coeur fidèle AKA The Faithful Heart (1923)

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Quote:
In Coeur Fidèle’s accompanying 44-page booklet, Jean Epstein, at a 1924 address, argues his film as “romantic” rather than”realist”, the label with which Italian poet Ricciotto Canudo assigned it before his death. The truth is that Epstein’s largely unknown masterpiece provides a fascinating agreement of the two styles, oscillating with seamless precision between reverie and sincerity. Marie (Gina Manès) is in love with Jean (Léon Mathot), a kind-hearted man who works on the Marseille docklands, but Marie’s adoptive parents want to marry her off to the obnoxious and unemployed drunk Petit Paul (Edmond Van Daële), and the scene is set for a sensational melodrama to unfold. Continue reading

Luis Buñuel – Un chien andalou (1929)

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In a dream-like sequence, a woman’s eye is slit open–juxtaposed with a similarly shaped cloud obsucuring the moon moving in the same direction as the knife through the eye–to grab the audience’s attention. The French phrase “ants in the palms,” (which means that someone is “itching” to kill) is shown literally. A man pulls a piano along with the tablets of the Ten Commandments and a dead donkey towards the woman he’s itching to kill. A shot of differently striped objects is repeatedly used to connect scenes. Written by Ryan T. Casey Continue reading

Louis Feuillade – Pierrot, Pierrette (1924)

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Pierrot et Pierrette, brother and sister, live in a caravan with their grandfather, the former ringmaster of a circus. To earn a living, they sing in the streets, and their lives are happy. But a charitable lady interferes, determined to put grandfather in an old folks’ home and the children in an orphanage. Pierrot and Pierrette run away, and fall into the hands of a travelling vendor who wants to use them for burglaries. Continue reading

? – 1925 Studio Tour (1925)

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Untitled and without any crew credits, this 32-minute silent documentary takes you on a tour of MGM in 1925, meeting the people who create the movies, and watching some of them do it. I found it fascinating, especially when some of the moviemakers were identified by the inter-titles. It was nice to be able finally to attach a face to some familiar names such as writers Agnes Christine Johnston, Jane Murfin, Waldemar Young and others who are identified and shown in closeups. I noted that Howard Hawks was included as a writer – he didn’t start directing until later. Less interesting were the showing of groups of unidentified crew members: about 50 cameramen lined up in a row, each hand cranking their cameras, seemed to serve no useful purpose. Unlike the writers, who were identified individually, the directors were all identified first in an inter-title, and the camera then panned across them standing in a row, but you could not tell which name belonged to which director. I did recognize Erich von Stroheim, but only because he was also a famous actor. When the actors and actresses were introduced as a group by inter-titles, it was much more fun, because identifying them became a game. I also saw three unlisted actors: Ford Sterling, William Haines and Sojin, and there are probably others. Continue reading

Louis Delluc – L’inondation (1924)

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Synopsis :
Dans un village paisible en bord du Rhône, Alban, jeune et honnête fermier, s’apprête à épouser la coquette et frivole Margot. Monsieur Broc, employé de mairie solitaire, retrouve sa fille adorée Germaine, devenue une charmante jeune femme. Germaine s’est éprise d’Alban. Lorsque celui-ci l’éconduit gentiment, elle s’effondre, fiévreuse, au grand désarroi de son père. La crue du fleuve inonde subitement le village et les alentours. Margot déclenche la colère d’Alban en fricotant avec son cousin Jean. Un soir elle disparaît. On la retrouve mystérieusement noyée. Continue reading