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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Here is the text for the poem by Sully Prudhomme that the song is based on:
Le long du Quai, les grands vaisseaux,
Que la houle incline en silence,
Ne prennent pas garde aux berceaux,
Que la main des femmes balance.
Mais viendra le jour des adieux,
Car il faut que les femmes pleurent,
Et que les hommes curieux
Tentent les horizons qui leurrent!
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Polish-born Jean Epstein’s Finis Terrae is momentous.
While every film exists on a sliding scale of expression whose opposite poles are documentary and fiction, this film in particular does more than merely combine the two modes; it anticipates generic (as distinct from stylistic) attempts – poetic docudrama; Italian Neorealism – to fuse them. How successful Epstein’s film is remains in dispute; its importance is incontestable.
The initial action is set on Bannec, a Breton islet. It is summer. Two boys, in their teens or, perhaps, early twenties, are on the islet to work. These dear friends are Jean-Marie and Ambroise (played by Jean-Marie Laot and Ambroise Rouzic). They quarrel; Ambroise withdraws from Jean-Marie and another boy in their group as a cut finger causes infection and saps his health. Jean-Marie attempts to row himself to Ouessant, on the mainland, but hasn’t the strength. Braving the elements, which include dense fog, Jean-Marie takes over, attempting to bring Ambroise to a medical doctor; meanwhile, the doctor is heading to Bannec to attend to the sick boy. Will the two vessels miss one another in the fog and tragedy result?
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