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French Impressionism and Cinema

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French impressionism in cinema it replaced industrial film in France in the 1920s. The production of French films in the 1920s decreases drastically. Cinema is produced much more in the United States and Germany.

Pathè and Gaumont, which had been the first industrial film production companies in history, dedicated themselves to the distribution and production of technical materials, abandoning film production.

They had replaced the artistic cinema of Melies and the other artisans of the early cinema, had established themselves on the market with arrogance to produce films for the general public. But things hadn’t worked out as they thought.

Industrial films often had very high costs and financial failures were frequent. Executives of Pathé and Gaumont had realized that they could risk much less by dedicating themselves to distribution than by making new films.

Although in the mid-1920s France produced only about fifty feature films and the United States 729, there was great cultural ferment on the streets of Paris and other cities. More film clubs were born than in any other part of the world. There was the possibility of attending debates, film reviews, magazines were born avant-garde.

The France that had invented cinema continued to love it above all as an art form. The French were interested in discovering cinema and establishing a link between this art and the intellectual world.

Impressionism and French Art Cinema

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French cinema takes the form of new avant-gardes such as impressionism. The first films reflecting on cinema from a theoretical and artistic point of view are made. Cinema is conceived as an art of research and experimentation, directors are not mere craftsmen but develop a theoretical and critical awareness of their art.

The impressionists French directors are the creators of the most original and avant-garde ideas of the 1920s. Cinema is conceived as a mix of other arts such as music and painting, while the connection with the theater is rejected. The art what most resembles cinema is music because it is a temporal and rhythmic art. Instead of musical notes, he lives on figurative rhythms, creative combinations of multiple elements, dynamic rhythms of light and images.

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Impressionist Cinema as a Symphony

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Human bodies, sets, objects, camera movement move in the film. All these elements intertwine and add up to produce a coherent show across the spaces of the image. Cinema is a great symphony, to be built with rhythm and musicality. The music of the montage and within the individual shots. Rhythm of sequences, scenes and shots that make up the symphony of the entire film. But also the rhythm and temporal scansion of the stories told.

Abel Gance gives a very significant definition of cinema. He says: “it is the music of light”. A definition on which the greatest directors of the cinema history also in the following years. Director Delluc instead theorizes that the main quality of cinema is photogenic. He defines photogenic any character, object or landscape that enhances its moral quality through the reproduction of the cinematic image. A way of filming a subject in its immediacy and deepest authenticity.

Impressionism and the Nineteenth-Century Tale

The cinematic impressionism of French directors deals mostly with nineteenth-century stories told in a traditional and romantic way. Fairly formulaic stories able to reach a large audience. These are dramas that tell of social constraints, moralisms that cause personal dissatisfaction and the inability to achieve one’s desires.

These are films that today appear very dated such as The Rose of the Rails, by Abel Gance, the story of the incestuous passion of a railway worker for a young woman. Or Futurism by l’Herbier, which tells the story of a deceitful and manipulative woman. Films superficially inspired by popular novels and decadent literature.

Other works are more successful, such as Fever from 1921, and The smiling Madame Beudet, from 1937, both by Delluc. The Fall of House Usher, 1928, by Jean Epstein, based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Other films focus on the cinematic potential to investigate the psyche and the inner world of the characters. Like the experimental film The Madness of Doctor Tube, from 1916, by Abel Gance or Eldorado by L’Herbier.

The Impressionist Cinema of Abel Gance

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Some directors like Abel Gance claim a more original personality. Gance creates large frescoes, expensive films from a production point of view, which experiment with new languages ​​and new potential of cinema. For example, the accelerated assembly of mechanical components in action in the film The Rose on the Rails. The director focuses on rhythm and movement with shots of contraptions in action.

A cinematographic montage made up of ever shorter shots and a fast pace. Napoleon, from 1927, is the most expensive blockbuster of the time in France. The film chronicles Napoleon’s military conquests with a focus on his individual story. There are also flashbacks from his childhood that delve into the emperor’s psychology.

Scenes dedicated to the French Revolution mix with the character’s narrative, culminating in grandiose battle scenes. Despite being a film that tells a piece of French history in the traditional way, there are a long series of directorial techniques and inventions in it. It is one of the peaks of experimental cinema in the history of cinema. Perhaps the film that experiences best in the silent cinema period. Abel Gance’s camera is extremely dynamic his movements are more elaborate than in any other film seen before. For the first time we see the split screen used in an exemplary way: the projection is divided into three screens simultaneously.

Marcel L’Herbier

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Another very interesting director of French impressionism is Marcel L’Herbier. His cinema is a search for complex images that are enriched with models taken from other arts. In your film Futurism there is a sequence in which you tell a science fiction experiment that allows the resurrection of the protagonist.

The accelerated editing gives the scene a hyper-modern style that connects to technological processes. Images of mechanical equipment in the laboratory in a crescendo of visual effects of great rhythmic intensity. Images, details, lights and chromatic effects that show great expressive and dynamic strength. Sci-fi and modernist sets that represent the future perspective of the film. A universe stimulated by the artistic innovations and modern taste of Paris in 1924, where a major exhibition dedicated to innovative arts is held.

The sets of the film seem to take us into a large art gallery. There is a variety of architectural styles influenced by art deco, futurism and rationalism. In 1929 L’Herbier made “Money”L’Argent”, a very expensive film that recounted the mechanisms of economic power and its conflicts. Filmed in huge spaces with images of great breadth and spectacularity, L’Herbier concentrates more on narrative effects and the dynamism of the camera than experimenting with editing. Modernist shots that develop an idea of ​​cinema inherited from Futurism, composing complex and rigorous figures.

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The Impressionism of Epstein, Kirsanoff, Cavalcanti

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Jean Epstein, on the other hand, alternated his activity as a director with that of a theorist and writer. His cinema is a search for states of mind, for fleeting impressions, for the mutation of feelings that follow the psychological dynamics of the characters.

An impressionism that focuses on the flow and becoming of things, with a light touch, investigating human feelings and sensations. Absolutely special films dedicated to mysterious characters, their psychological crises and their inner changes.

Like Faithful Heart, from 1923, a film with images and close-ups of rare beauty. The woman the protagonist of the film is in love with is forced to be married off by an overbearing drunkard. The protagonist ends up in prison and when he gets out he finds the woman he loves with a newborn baby. The two lovers dream of changing their lives but the bully controls the woman’s life with violence. A melodrama set in Marseille, in a port where gigantic ships and fishing boats move behind the characters. Masterful framing and editing, full of inventions and poetry, sudden bursts of rhythm. A poignant and melancholy visual symphony, a masterpiece of French impressionism, made with very few means and enormous inspiration.

Jean Epstein also made The Beautiful Nivernese, from 1924. The three-faced mirror from 1927 presents us with the protagonist with 3 different images through the gaze of three women with exceptional narrative ability.

His other films such as Finisterre of 1929, and The Sea of Crows of 1929, are instead poems about nature and the sea that go beyond the simple documentary. These films transform the image into a search for truth. Directors who develop a similar style are, for example, Cavalcanti and Kirsanoff, who are committed to creating a cinema in balance between documentary and fiction, mixing reality and staging, acted materials and documentary films, to create extraordinary visual symphonies. A style that many years later would be developed in a different form from independent filmmakers like Italian Franco Piavoli.

Kirsanoff makes astonishing visual poems. He transforming reality into musical rhythms. In the 1925 film Menilmontant, for example, he rigorously searches for the invisible, giving up telling any story to concentrate on experimenting with optical effects. In a similar way, Alberto Cavalcanti, in the 1926 film En rade, mixes micro-stories and searches for rhythms and visions to make cinema a revealing tool of reality.

With Rien que les heures of 1927, he created a visual symphony dedicated to the city of Paris. Fragments of metropolitan life, real situations, apparently random heterogeneous images, scraps, fragments of stories connected to each other to tell a story of chance and fatality. Cavalcanti prefers secondary images and little frequented itineraries. A narrative and avant-garde, experimental cinema, characterized by great research which, however, did not meet the success of the public, remaining forgotten for a long time.

Impressionist Films not to Be Missed

Here is an exhaustive list of all the best impressionist films that every cinephile and lover of avant-garde cinema shouldn’t miss.

The Madness of Doctor Tube (1916)

The Madness of Doctor Tube is a 1916 silent film directed by Abel Gance. It is considered the first French avant-garde film. The film is incomplete and unreleased at the time of its making, but has since been considered the forefather of the French cinematographic avant-garde.

The film tells the story of a man named Tube who is obsessed with control. Tube is an inventor and has created a machine that can control people’s minds. Tube uses his machine to control the government, army and people.

The film is an allegory of power and madness. Tube represents absolute power, which can lead to destruction. The film is also an exploration of the human psyche and the nature of madness. The film was shot experimentally, with innovative use of light and composition. Gance used techniques such as rapid editing, dissolves and angled shots to create an atmosphere of unease and suspense.

The Madness of Doctor Tube is an important film in the history of cinema. It is an example of the strength of the cinematic avant-garde and of cinema’s ability to explore complex and profound themes. The Madness of Doctor Tube is a rare and precious film. It is a cinematic work of art that continues to inspire and captivate viewers.

La Roue (1919)

La Roue is a 1919 film directed by Abel Gance. It is considered one of the most important and innovative films in the history of cinema, and one of the masterpieces of the French impressionist movement.

The film is set in France at the beginning of the 20th century, and tells the story of Jean, a young train driver who is in love with Lydia, the daughter of his boss. The story is set in an industrial setting, and Gance uses the camera to explore the complexities of modern life.

The film is known for its technical innovations, including the use of pans, zooms, and special effects. Gance was one of the first directors to experiment with these new shooting methods, and La Roue is considered a turning point in the history of cinema.

The film is also known for its dramatic and poetic atmosphere. Gance uses cinema to explore themes like love, death, and destiny. La Roue is a powerful and provocative film, which has had a profound impact on subsequent cinema.

Here are some of the most innovative aspects of the film:

  • The use of the film camera to explore space and time. Gance uses the camera to create a sense of movement and dynamism, and to explore the relationship between the present, the past and the future.
  • The use of special effects to create suggestive and poetic images. Gance uses special effects to create visually striking images, which contribute to the dramatic and poetic atmosphere of the film.
  • The use of a rhythmic and dynamic montage. Gance uses editing to create a fast, engaging pace that keeps the viewer glued to the screen.

La Roue is a complex and fascinating film, which is still able to amaze and move today. It is a film that had a profound impact on subsequent cinema, and which continues to be regarded as one of the masterpieces of cinematic history.

La Fête espagnole (1920)

La Fête espagnole is a 1920 film directed by Germaine Dulac. It is an 8-minute silent short film, considered one of the masterpieces of the French impressionist movement.

The film is set in Spain and tells the story of two friends, Pedro and Luis, who fall in love with the same woman, Soledad. Soledad is a charming and mysterious woman who plays with the feelings of the two men.

The film is known for its use of bright and contrasting colours, for its suggestive and poetic imagery, and for its dreamlike and surreal atmosphere. Dulac uses cinema to explore themes like love, obsession, and destiny.

Here are some of the most innovative aspects of the film:

  • The use of bright and contrasting colors to create a dreamlike and surreal atmosphere. Dulac uses color to create a sense of magic and mystery, and to transport the viewer into a fantasy world.
  • The use of suggestive and poetic imagery to create an atmosphere of tension and suspense. Dulac uses evocative and symbolic images to create a sense of expectation and unease.
  • The use of rhythmic and dynamic editing to create an atmosphere of movement and dynamism. Dulac uses editing to create a fast, engaging pace that keeps the viewer glued to the screen.

La Fête espagnole is a short but intense film, which is still able to fascinate and amaze today. It is a film that had a profound impact on subsequent cinema, and which continues to be regarded as one of the masterpieces of cinematic history.

The film premiered at the 1920 Venice Film Festival, where it received the award for best short film. It was later released in France and other European countries.

L’Herbier (1920)

L’Herbier is a 1920 film directed by Marcel L’Herbier. It’s a silent film of 90 minutes, considered one of the masterpieces of the French impressionist movement.

The film is based on a short story by Honoré de Balzac, Un drame au bord de la mer. It tells the story of Michel, a young sailor who returns home after a long voyage. Michel is a strong and virile man, but he is also tormented by a sense of guilt over the death of his best friend.

The film is known for its depiction of the relationship between humans and nature. L’Herbier uses cinema to explore the strength and beauty of nature, but also its cruelty and mystery.

Here are some of the most innovative aspects of the film:

  • The use of panoramic shots to capture the vastness and power of nature. L’Herbier uses panoramic shots to create a sense of the immensity and sacredness of nature.
  • The use of alternate editing to create a sense of suspense and tension. L’Herbier uses alternate editing to create a fast, engaging pace that keeps the viewer glued to the screen.
  • The use of music to create an atmosphere of mystery and magic. L’Herbier uses music to create a dreamlike and surreal atmosphere, which transports the viewer into a fantasy world.

L’Herbier is a complex and fascinating film, which is still able to amaze and move us today. It is a film that had a profound impact on subsequent cinema, and which continues to be regarded as one of the masterpieces of cinematic history.

The film premiered at the 1920 Venice Film Festival, where it received an honorable mention. It was later released in France and other European countries.

L’Herbier is a film that has had a significant influence on later cinema. His use of nature as a theme and backdrop, and his use of alternate editing to create a sense of suspense and tension, influenced many filmmakers, including Jean Renoir, Orson Welles, and Alfred Hitchcock.

L’Inhumaine (1921)

L’Inhumaine is a 1924 film directed by Marcel L’Herbier. It is a 135-minute silent film, considered one of the masterpieces of the French impressionist movement.

The film is set in early 20th century France and tells the story of Claire Lescot, an opera singer who is in love with Einar Norsen, a young scientist. Claire is an enigmatic and charming woman who is able to seduce men and manipulate them to her liking. Einar is an idealistic and romantic man who is fascinated by Claire, but who is also terrified of her power.

The film is known for its evocative and poetic imagery, its technical innovations, and its exploration of themes of love, death, and technology. L’Herbier uses cinema to create a dreamlike and surreal atmosphere, and to explore the limits of human nature.

Here are some of the most innovative aspects of the film:

  • The use of suggestive and poetic images to create a dreamlike and surreal atmosphere. L’Herbier uses evocative and symbolic imagery to create a sense of magic and mystery, and to transport the viewer into a fantasy world.
  • The use of technical innovations, such as film coloring, the use of special effects, and experimental editing, to create a visually stunning atmosphere.
  • The exploration of the themes of love, death, and technology. L’Herbier uses cinema to explore the complexities of human nature, and to reflect on the role of technology in society.

L’Inhumaine is a complex and fascinating film, which is still able to amaze and move today. It is a film that had a profound impact on subsequent cinema, and which continues to be regarded as one of the masterpieces of cinematic history.

The film premiered at the 1924 Venice Film Festival, where it received the Golden Lion. It was later released in France and other European countries.

Fever (1921)

Fever (Fièvre) is a 1921 silent short film directed by Louis Delluc.

The film tells the story of a sailor who returns from the Orient and goes to a bar in Marseille. The bar is owned by a man who married the woman who had been the sailor’s love. The sailor is distraught and begins drinking heavily. Finally, he falls into a deep sleep and dreams of the woman he loves.

The film is an example of Delluc’s poetic cinema, which focuses on the expression of feelings and emotions through evocative images. The film was shot experimentally, with innovative use of light and composition.

Fever was presented at the 1921 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prix. The film was praised by critics for its visual beauty and emotional intensity.

The film was restored in 2010 and was shown at several film festivals. It is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Fever is an important film in the history of cinema. It is an example of the power of poetic cinema and of cinema’s ability to express complex emotions through evocative images.

Eldorado (1921)

Eldorado is a 1921 silent film directed by Marcel L’Herbier. It is a melodrama set in Seville and tells the story of a dancer who takes her revenge on a man who seduced and abandoned her.

The film is an early example of French poetic cinema, a movement that focused on expressing feelings and emotions through evocative imagery. L’Herbier used innovative techniques such as expressive editing and the use of color to create a dreamlike and evocative atmosphere.

Eldorado was a critical and commercial success and helped consolidate L’Herbier’s reputation as one of the most important directors in French cinema.

Eldorado is an important film in the history of cinema. It is an example of the power of poetic cinema and of cinema’s ability to tell evocative and engaging stories.

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The Smiling Madame Beudet (1922)

“The Smiling Madame Beudet” is a 1923 film directed by Germaine Dulac. It is a 54-minute silent short film, considered one of the first examples of feminist and experimental cinema.

The film is set in France, and tells the story of Madame Beudet, a married woman who is unhappy with her life. Madame Beudet is an intelligent and vivacious woman, but she is forced to live a domestic and monotonous life.

The film is known for its exploration of themes of female oppression, frustration, and fantasy. Dulac uses cinema to give women a voice, and to explore their experiences and emotions.

Here are some of the most innovative aspects of the film:

  • The exploration of themes of female oppression, frustration, and fantasy. Dulac uses cinema to give women a voice, and to explore their experiences and emotions.
  • The use of editing and pacing to create an atmosphere of suspense and tension. Dulac uses editing to create a sense of anticipation and foreboding, reflecting the mental state of the protagonist.
  • The use of symbolic and metaphorical imagery to explore themes of female oppression, frustration, and fantasy. Dulac uses evocative and symbolic images to create a sense of oppression and frustration.

The smiling Mrs. Beudet is a short but intense film, which is still able to fascinate and amaze today. It is a film that had a profound impact on subsequent cinema, and which continues to be regarded as one of the masterpieces of cinematic history.

The film premiered at the 1923 Venice Film Festival, where it received an honorable mention. It was later released in France and other European countries.

Faithful Heart (1923)

Faithful Heart (Coeur Fidèle) is a 1923 silent film directed by Jean Epstein. It is a drama set in Marseille and tells the story of an orphan girl who is forced to marry an abusive man, but finds love in another man.

The film is one of the masterpieces of French poetic cinema, a movement that focused on expressing feelings and emotions through evocative images. Epstein used innovative techniques such as expressive editing and the use of light and color to create a poetic and melancholic atmosphere.

Faithful Heart was a critical and commercial success and helped solidify Epstein’s reputation as one of the most important directors in French cinema.

Faithful Heart is an important film in the history of cinema. It is an example of the power of poetic cinema and of cinema’s ability to tell evocative and engaging stories.

Marie is an orphan girl who is adopted by a couple who run a bar in Marseille. The pair are tough and treat Marie like a servant. Marie is in love with a longshoreman named Jean, but the couple force her to marry Petit Paul, a gangster.

Marie is unhappy in her marriage and continues to see Jean. Petit Paul discovers this and threatens to kill him. Marie intervenes and kills Petit Paul with a knife.

Marie and Jean are finally free to live their love. The film ends with a caption that says: “Love can make you forget everything.”

Faithful Heart is a dark and dramatic film, but it is also a poetic and romantic film. Epstein created an atmosphere of melancholy and nostalgia, which is reflected in the love story between Marie and Jean. The film is a masterpiece of French poetic cinema and a cinematic work of art that continues to inspire and captivate viewers.

Sleeping Paris (1923)

“Sleeping Paris” is a 1923 silent medium-length film directed by Rene Clair. It is considered one of the masterpieces of surrealist cinema.

The film is set in Paris. It tells the story of Albert, a young man who wakes up one morning to find the whole city asleep, frozen like statues. Albert is the only one who hasn’t been hit by the mysterious ray that has put the city to sleep.

The film is known for its use of surrealism, for its evocative and poetic imagery, and for its exploration of themes of the unconscious and dreams. Clair uses cinema to create a dreamlike and surreal atmosphere, and to explore the possibilities of the imagination.

Here are some of the most innovative aspects of the film:

  • The use of surrealism to create a dreamlike and surreal atmosphere. Clair uses evocative and symbolic imagery to create a sense of magic and mystery, and to transport the viewer into a fantasy world.
  • The use of evocative and poetic images to explore the themes of the unconscious and dreams. Clair uses evocative and symbolic imagery to explore the possibilities of fantasy and imagination.
  • The use of a fast, engaging pace to keep the viewer glued to the screen. Clair uses rhythm to create a sense of suspense and tension, which keeps the viewer glued to the screen.

Sleeping Paris is a fascinating and provocative film, which is still able to amaze and move today. It is a film that had a profound impact on subsequent cinema, and which continues to be regarded as one of the masterpieces of cinematic history.

The film premiered at the 1925 Venice Film Festival, where it received an honorable mention. It was later released in France and other European countries.

The Fall of House Usher (1924)

“The Fall of the House of Usher” is a 1928 silent film directed by Jean Epstein. It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe.

The film is set in a swamp, in a gothic house called Casa Usher. The protagonist is Roderick Usher, a sick and paranoid man who lives with his sister Madeline. The two are linked by a morbid relationship, and the house itself seems to be imbued with an atmosphere of death and decay.

One day, Roderick is visited by a friend who is invited to stay in the house. The friend begins to suspect that there is something sinister in that house, and that Roderick’s illness is linked to Madeline.

The film is known for its evocative and poetic imagery, and its exploration of the themes of nightmare and obsession. Epstein uses cinema to create an eerie, claustrophobic atmosphere, and to explore the darkest recesses of the human psyche.

Here are some of the most innovative aspects of the film:

  • The use of evocative and poetic images to create an eerie and claustrophobic atmosphere. Epstein uses symbolic and suggestive images to create a sense of mystery and foreboding, and to transport the viewer into a dreamlike and surreal world.
  • The use of innovative special effects to create an atmosphere of suspense and tension. Epstein uses special effects such as slow motion and crossfades to create a sense of fascination and mystery.
  • The use of a slow, engaging pace to keep the viewer glued to the screen. Epstein uses rhythm to create a sense of suspense and tension, which keeps the viewer glued to the screen.

The Fall of the House of Usher is a fascinating and provocative film that is still able to amaze and move us today. It is a film that had a profound impact on subsequent cinema, and which continues to be regarded as one of the masterpieces of cinematic history.

The film premiered at the 1928 Venice Film Festival, where it received a special prize. It was later released in France and other European countries.

The Fall of the House of Usher was one of the first films to experiment with the use of symbolic and suggestive imagery to create an eerie and claustrophobic atmosphere. The film had a significant influence on later cinema, and influenced many directors, including Luis Buñuel, Roman Polanski, and David Lynch.

Menilmontant (1925)

Menilmontant is a French silent film directed by Dimitri Kirsanoff. The film is based on a novel by Pierre Mac Orlan and tells the story of two young sisters who leave their country house to seek their fortune in Paris.

The film is known for its use of experimental techniques, such as jump editing and image superimposition. Kirsanoff used these techniques to create a dreamlike and surrealistic atmosphere, which mirrors the inner world of the two protagonists.

Menilmontant was a controversial film at the time of its release, but it has been re-evaluated in subsequent years and is now considered a classic of experimental cinema.

The two young sisters, Marie and Jeanne, leave their country house to seek their fortune in Paris. Marie is an idealistic and dreamy woman, while Jeanne is a more pragmatic and realistic woman.

The two sisters settle in the Menilmontant district, a popular district of Paris. Here they meet a series of eccentric and bohemian characters, who introduce them to the world of culture and art.

Marie falls in love with an artist, but their relationship is hampered by his artistic ambitions. Jeanne, on the other hand, finds work as a saleswoman in a clothing store.

The two sisters are confronted with the difficulties of life in Paris, but eventually find their way. Marie realizes that she cannot live on illusions and devotes herself to her career as an artist. Jeanne, however, marries and settles in a small town.

Menilmontant is an experimental film which uses a number of innovative techniques, such as discontinuous editing and the superimposition of images.

Jump editing is a technique of editing together scenes that are not necessarily chronologically successive. This technique is used by Kirsanoff to create a sense of suspense and mystery.

Image overlay is a technique that consists of superimposing two or more images on the same screen. This technique is used by Kirsanoff to create a dreamlike and surreal effect.

Menilmontant is a controversial film that has been re-evaluated in the following years and is today considered a classic of experimental cinema. The film influenced many later directors, including Jean-Luc Godard and Chris Marker.

L’Argent (1928)

L’Argent (1928) is a drama movie French directed by Marcel L’Herbier. It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Émile Zola.

The film tells the story of Jean Darbon, a young man who is in search of success. Darbon starts working as a bank clerk, but is soon drawn to the world of finance. Darbon starts speculating on the stock market and quickly makes a fortune.

Darbon marries a rich woman, but his marriage is unhappy. Darbon is obsessed with money and doesn’t care about anything or anyone. Eventually, Darbon loses all his money and ends up broke.

L’Argent is a dark and pessimistic film. It is a portrait of human nature and its ability to be corrupted by the power of money.

The film was shot experimentally, with an innovative use of light and colour. L’Herbier used techniques such as expressive editing, fades and angular shots to create an atmosphere of suspense and foreboding.

L’Argent was a critical and commercial success. The film was praised for its visual strength and social commentary.

L’Argent is an important film in the history of cinema. It is an example of the strength of expressionist cinema and of cinema’s ability to explore complex social issues.

L’Atalante (1926)

L’Atalante is a 1926 French silent film directed by Jean Vigo. It’s a love movie and sea which tells the story of Jean, a young sailor, and Juliette, a young woman, who get married and set sail together on a riverboat.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Roger Leenhardt, and tells the story of Jean and Juliette from their first meeting until their separation. The film is known for its poetic imagery and its exploration of the themes of love, freedom, and destiny.

Here are some of the most innovative aspects of the film:

  • The use of poetic and suggestive images to tell the story of Jean and Juliette. Vigo uses evocative and symbolic imagery to create a sense of magic and mystery, and to transport the viewer into a fantasy world.
  • The use of innovative cinematic techniques, such as editing and photography, to create a visually stunning atmosphere.
  • The exploration of the themes of love, freedom, and destiny. Vigo uses film to explore the complexities of human nature, and to reflect on the role of love and freedom in society.

L’Atalante is a fascinating and provocative film, which is still able to amaze and move today. It is a film that had a profound impact on subsequent cinema, and which continues to be regarded as one of the masterpieces of cinematic history.

The film premiered at the 1926 Venice Film Festival, where it received a special award. It was later released in France and other European countries.

L’Atalante was one of the first films to use innovative cinematic techniques, such as editing and photography. The film had a significant influence on later cinema, and influenced many directors, including Jean Renoir, Orson Welles, and Stanley Kubrick.

In particular, the film is noted for its use of oblique shots, dramatic lighting, and intense close-ups. Vigo uses these techniques to create a sense of tension and suspense, and to convey the emotions of the characters.

The film is also notable for its use of music. The soundtrack of the film was composed by Darius Milhaud, and contributes to the poetic and romantic atmosphere.

L’Atalante is a classic film that has had a profound impact on subsequent cinema. It has been praised for its beauty, its power, and its emotional intensity. The film was restored and re-released in 1953, and continues to be regarded as one of the masterpieces in cinematic history.

En rade (1926)

“En rade” is a 1926 French silent film directed by Alberto Cavalcanti. The full title is “En rade (À bord de l’Octania)”, and it is also known by the title “In the Doldrums” in English. Director Alberto Cavalcanti was a French-born Brazilian filmmaker known for his contributions to avant-garde cinema and the Surrealist movement.

The film “En rade” is an adventure story that follows the crew of a ship in distress, the Octania, as they find themselves trapped in the area known as “rade”, which refers to an area of ​​calm, windless sea , often associated with ocean doldrums. The crew faces several challenges during their stay in the harbor, including fueling issues, tensions between crew members, and difficulties handling the vessel.

“En rade” is an example of avant-garde cinema of the 1920s, and is known for its visual and narrative innovations. The film may not be as well known outside specialist film circles, but it was appreciated for its formal and stylistic experimentation.

Rien que les heures (1926)

Rien que les heures (1926) is a French experimental silent film directed by Alberto Cavalcanti. The film is a portrait of daily life in Paris through a series of scenes that take place in different places in the city.

The film is shot in an impressionistic style, with heavy use of special effects and editing techniques. Cavalcanti uses these techniques to create a dreamlike and surreal atmosphere, reflecting the complexity and multiplicity of modern life.

Rien que les heures was a controversial film at the time of its release, but it was re-evaluated in the following years and is today considered a classic of experimental cinema.

The film doesn’t have a linear plot, but is a collage of scenes that take place in different places in Paris. The scenes are linked together by a common theme, which is the daily life of the city.

Scenes in the film show a variety of people and activities, from street life to upper class life. The film also explores the themes of loneliness, escape and the search for meaning. Rien que les heures is an experimental film that uses a number of innovative techniques, such as special effects and editing.

The special effects used in the film include image superimposition, slow motion and rhythmic editing. These techniques are used by Cavalcanti to create a sense of movement and dynamism.

The editing of the film is also innovative. Cavalcanti uses discontinuous editing, which consists of editing together scenes that are not necessarily chronologically successive. This technique is used by Cavalcanti to create a sense of suspense and mystery.

Rien que les heures was a controversial film at the time of its release, but it was re-evaluated in the following years and is today considered a classic of experimental cinema.

The film influenced many later directors, including Jean Renoir and Luis Buñuel.

Rien que les heures is a film worth seeing for its innovative use of experimental techniques and for its depiction of the complexity of modern life.

Napoleon (1927)

Napoléon is a 1927 French silent film directed by Abel Gance. It is an epic film chronicling the life and career of Napoleon Bonaparte, from his arrival in Paris in 1795 until his victory at Marengo in 1800.

The film is known for its historic ambitions as well as its technical innovations. It was a success with audiences and critics, and is considered one of the masterpieces of silent cinema.

The film begins with Napoleon’s arrival in Paris in 1795. Napoleon is a very talented young general, and is quickly recruited by the revolutionary government.

One of the most innovative techniques in the film is the use of overlays. Overlays are a technique that allows you to superimpose two or more images on the screen. Gance uses overlays to create a sense of drama and suspense.

Another innovative film technique is the use of split screens. Split screen is a technique that allows you to divide the screen into two or more parts. Gance uses split screen to show multiple events taking place at the same time.

Napoléon is a film that had a profound impact on later cinema. The film was a model for many directors, including Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick, and Steven Spielberg.

Napoléon is considered one of the masterpieces of silent cinema, and continues to be admired and studied by film enthusiasts around the world.

Finis Terrae (1929)

Finis Terrae is a French silent drama film written and directed by Jean Epstein. The story centers on a small group of men harvesting seaweed off the coast of Brittany and the problems that arise when one of them gets a thumb disease.

The title of the film is the old Latin name of the Finistère region, where the story is set, and means “End of the world”. The film is shot in a documentary style, with local non-professional actors in all roles and frequent handheld shooting. Additionally, Epstein frequently inserts slow-motion footage.

Finis Terrae was a critical and commercial success and is considered one of the most important films of the French silent era.

La Maternelle (1933)

La Maternelle is a 1924 silent film directed by Jean Benoit-Lévy and Marie Epstein. It is a documentary film that tells the daily life of a nursery school in Paris.

The film is shot in neorealistic style, and focuses on children and educators. The film does not have a traditional plot or cast, but consists of a series of scenes that capture the day-to-day life of the kindergarten.

The film is known for its sincerity and humanity. The Epsteins capture the beauty and innocence of children, and the difficult but rewarding work of educators.

Here are some of the most innovative aspects of the film:

  • The use of a neo-realistic style to capture the day-to-day kindergarten. The Epsteins use a documentary approach to capture the real lives of children and educators.
  • Attention to detail and care for staging. The Epsteins pay attention to detail, and create scenes that are both realistic and poetic.
  • The sincerity and humanity of the film. The Epsteins capture the beauty and innocence of children, and the difficult but rewarding work of educators.

La Maternelle is a fascinating and moving film, which is still able to amaze and move today. It is a film that had a profound impact on subsequent cinema, and which continues to be regarded as one of the masterpieces of cinematic history.

The film premiered at the 1924 Venice Film Festival, where it received a special award. It was later released in France and other European countries.

La Maternelle was one of the first films to use a neo-realistic style to capture everyday life. The film had a significant influence on later cinema, and influenced many directors, including Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, and Federico Fellini.

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