A young flapper tricks her childhood sweetheart into marrying her. He really loves another woman, but didn’t marry her for fear the marriage would end in divorce, like his parents’. Complications ensue.
To contemplate Clara Bow and Gary Cooper together onscreen is to fear these irresistibly watchable stars will cancel each other out. After all, what else could happen when two performers who consistently steal scenes in other films appear with each other? In the 1927 silent Children of Divorce, nothing quite that dramatic happens, it’s pure pleasure to see them together. Now the film is available in its DVD/Blu-ray world premiere, in what is also the 50th release for the always meticulous Flicker Alley. Continue reading
One of the last great German Expressionist films of the silent era, Joe May’s Asphalt is a love story set in the traffic-strewn Berlin of the late 1920s. Starring the delectable Betty Amann in her most famous leading role, Asphalt is a luxuriously produced Ufa classic where tragic liaisons and fatal encounters are shaped alongside the constant roar of traffic.
In Berlin, a policeman called Holk is summoned to a jeweller’s shop, where a beautiful young woman has tried to steal a diamond. En route to the police station, the woman takes Holk back to her apartment on the pretext of collecting some papers and ends up seducing him. Soon he finds himself caught between his duty and the woman he is falling in love with. Continue reading
Gabrielle, an ambitious but innocent would-be young chorine, trumps a music hall publicity stunt to become the new Parisian nightclub Cinderella. But this lighter-than-champagne-bubbles story is only a pretext for LA REVUE DES REVUES’s white-hot, non-stop procession of outrageously and scantily attired exotic dancers, showgirls, and acrobats including the Tiller’s Follies Girls, Ruth Zackey and the Hoffmann Girls, and danseuse russe Lila Nikolska. But it’s Josephine Baker, “the high priestess of primitivism”, who triumphs in two show stopping numbers in which “her clownish backfield-in-motion Charleston shimmy is unlike anything else in the movie and perhaps unlike anything anyone ever did”. Continue reading
A farmer’s wife is seduced into running away from her stolid older husband by a city slicker, who enslaves her in a brothel.
Literature is full of triangle dramas, but very few of them can beat Juhani Aho’s “Juha” (1998) for deepness of emotions and understanding of all three parties. The story is straight and strong, yet full of detail, just waiting to be ruined by cinematic means.
I had planned to film “Juha” almost as long as we had planned to make a silent movie with composer Anssi Tikanmäki. One day we were clever enough to put the ideas together and the catastrophe was ready.
Afterwards I’m not surprised that all efforts (except Tati’s “Mon Oncle”) to make a silent film during the last decades have somehow failed; the easiness of explaining all by words has polluted our story telling to a pale shadow of original cinema.
We can never again make films like “Broken Blossoms”, “Sunrise” or “Queen Kelly” because since film started to gable with mumble and all that hoochie-coochie and fancy words, stories have lost their purity, cinema its essence: innocence.
(Aki Kaurismäki) Continue reading
Débarquement du congrès de photographes à Lyon
Maths Jesperson on IMDb wrote:
Members of the French Photographic Society arrive from a riverboat to their congress venue in Neuville-sur-Saône on a summer day. They go ashore across a wooden landing stage. Among the many men in straw hats are also a few women in long skirts. Some of the men lift their hats toward the photographer when passing. Many of them are carrying their own cameras. Continue reading
Catalogue Lumière wrote:
Vue N° 45
“Des enfants traînent leurs filets sur la plage à mer basse : les fillettes, les jupes relevées, rivalisent d’entrain avec les garçons dans cet exercice.”
– Un des personnages porte un panier sur lequel est inscrit “Shrimp” [crevette].- Une vue supplémentaire et non cataloguée représente le même sujet. Continue reading
Samuel Beckett, the celebrated author of Waiting for Godot, made a single work for projected cinema. It’s in essence a chase film; the craziest ever committed to celluloid. It’s a chase between camera and pursued image that finds existential dread embedded in the very apparatus of the movies itself. The link to cinema’s essence is evident in the casting, as the chased object is none other than an aged Buster Keaton, who was understandably befuddled at Beckett and director Alan Schneider’s imperative that he keep his face hidden from the camera’s gaze. The archetypal levels resonate further in the exquisite cinematography of Academy Award-winner Boris Kaufman, whose brothers Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman created the legendary self-reflexive masterpiece Man With a Movie Camera. Commissioned and produced by Grove Press’s Barney Rosset, FILM is at once the product of a stunningly all-star assembly of talent, and a cinematic conundrum that asks more questions than it answers. Continue reading