Jean Epstein

  • Jean Epstein – Sa tête (1929)

    1921-1930DramaFranceJean EpsteinSilent

    Jean Bernard, industrial designer, is an only child and has lost his father. He is in love with Blanche Dumas, secretary to a bank manager. One day, he visits his mother who lives in the small village of Livilliers and spends the night there. The next morning, police arrive to arrest him. His mother does not understand what he is accused of and will discover that he would have murdered the banker who was making advances to Blanche.Read More »

  • Jean Epstein – Finis terrae AKA End of the Earth (1929)

    Jean Epstein1921-1930DramaFranceSilent

    The Ushant archipelago is a group of small islands situated off the coast of Brittany at the northwest extremity of France. Each year, four fishermen from the most populated island Ushant set up camp for three months on the uninhabited islet of Bannec to gather and process seaweed, producing a valuable soda-rich resource for factories along the coast. JeanMarie and Ambroise, the two youngest members of the four, fall out when the latter drops his friend’s last bottle of wine. Ambroise finds himself ostracised when Jean-Marie accuses him of stealing his pocket knife and then develops a fever when infection sets in on a hand wound. Read More »

  • Jean Epstein – La chute de la maison Usher AKA The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)

    1921-1930ArthouseFranceJean EpsteinSilent

    A leading member of the French cinema’s avant-garde movement and the director of the Impressionist classic Coeur fidèle (1923), Jean Epstein broke with his more modernist colleagues in the late 1920s to make documentaries and fiction films grounded in the realities of everyday life. Before that evolution, however, Epstein filmed this adaptation of two Edgar Allan Poe stories: “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1839) and “The Oval Portrait” (1850). The film’s significance lies not so much in its fidelity to Poe’s stories as in its atmospheric evocation of the author’s gothic sensibility. Read More »

  • Jean Epstein – Le tempestaire (1947)

    1941-1950ArthouseFranceJean EpsteinShort Film

    Despite her protestations and concerns over ominous signs, a young woman’s lover leaves for the sea to fish for sardines, but while he is out a terrible storm strikes. However, she finds out about Le Tempestaire, or Tempest Master, who has the power to speak to the wind and subdue it.Read More »

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

    1921-1930FranceJean EpsteinSilent

    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.Read More »

  • Jean Epstein – Le lion des Mogols (1924)

    1921-1930AdventureFranceJean EpsteinSilent

    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 – Six et demi onze (1927)

    1921-1930ClassicsFranceJean EpsteinSilent

    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 »

  • Jean Epstein – Mauprat (1926)

    1921-1930ArthouseFranceJean EpsteinSilent

    Mauprat was adapted by Jean Epstein from a novel of the famous novelist George Sand. Like many of Sand’s novels, Mauprat borrows from various fictional genres- the Gothic novel, chivalric romance, the Bildungsroman, detective fiction, and the historical novel. Luis Buñuel was assistant director on this film, and was Buñuel’s first film credit.Read More »

  • Jean Epstein – L’auberge rouge AKA The Red Inn (1923)

    1921-1930DramaFranceJean EpsteinSilent

    Based on the story by Honoré de Balzac. Caught in a storm, two young doctors book into an inn for the night and find themselves sharing a room with a Dutch diamond merchant. During the night Prosper steals from the merchant, but when he awakes in the morning he finds the merchant dead and his friend gone. When the stolen property is found on him he is arrested for the crime and executed. 25 years later the innkeeper’s daughter relates the tale to a traveler, who in turn later relates it at a dinner party. At that party is Frederic Taillefer, the missing friend and murderer.Read More »

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