3 items from 2012
Le bonheur (1934) may be Marcel L'Herbier's best talkie—even if it is, its existence should be enough to disprove the widely and uncritically accepted assumption that the director went into a steep decline with the coming of sound.
In fact, the bigger problem is that not enough people know his work at all. In the silent era, he quite deliberately competed with Abel Gance in terms of cinematic spectacle, swinging his camera from ropes and wheeling it on a lighting stand, while also pursuing a cinema of elaborate, stylized production design. There's something inscrutable about him: he shuttles from genre trifles to experimental epics, and his true sensibility may be glimpsed as much in the former as the latter. Perhaps his homosexuality, an open secret in the film business, led him to to employ layers of careful coding more than most commercial filmmakers.
L'Herbier's early talkies include the lighter-than-air »
- David Cairns
Directed by Jean Renoir
Written by Jean Renoir
Under the simplicity of this quote and counter-quote parley hides a grain of truth inherent to both. Yes, the rich have more money, and for that very reason, they live differently from the rest of society. With their abundant riches and excess wealth, they can afford to do things most others cannot. For one, they can afford to play games.
Fitzgerald himself masterfully portrayed the hedonistic lifestyles of the rich and famous in The Great Gatsby, and in the realm of literature, it lacks a suitable rival in that regard. But in cinema, the very same notions and ideas were also well accomplished by the storied French filmmaker, »
- Justin Li
Stupéfiants (1932) is interesting in itself, to a moderate degree. It's even more interesting for the lives around it, but more of that later.
Yes, the title literally means "stupefiers," and it's a drug drama, a French-German co-production delivering German thriller entertainment with a Gallic lightness of touch. The hero, Jean Murat, is the kind of energetic superman beloved of the German cinema of the era, with some of the agility that distinguished Roland Toutain in L'Herbier's crime romances of the period—one moment where he swings from a crane adds a welcome dash of Doug Fairbanks excitement to the proceedings: one watches keenly for the rest of the movie in case he repeats it, but sadly he doesn't.
Murat's sister has become addicted to drugs, and Murat embarks on his adventures first to save her, then to avenge her. Along the way, the movie delivers some surprisingly accurate behavior from the addict, »
3 items from 2012
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