At a tramcar in Copenhagen the piano teacher Magda Vang meets the young man Knud Svane, who falls in love with her. She is invited to spend the summer with him and his parents at the ... See full summary »
After the old-books shop closes, portraits of the Strumpet, Death, and the Devil come to life and amuse themselves by reading stories--about themselves, of course, in various guises and ... See full summary »
As evidenced by this film, Danish filmmakers didn't always give much attention to a film's story. I was left with much to infer here. Valdemar Psilander, the major Danish star of the era beside Asta Nielsen, plays a son whose relationship with his mother suffers due to his playboy pursuits and resulting debts. He also becomes romantically involved with his lender's daughter. Anyhow, the story isn't so important, or interesting. Neither is Psilander, although he does seem natural compared to the theatrics of the actress playing his mother.
Of more interest is the attention to mise-en-scène instead of story, plot, editing or camera movement (none of which were very well developed at this time in film history anyway). Nordisk's production values are quite good for the time, which is to be expected, as they were a dominant film producing company then. For the most part, scenes are long takes--keeping cuts to a minimum. Director August Blom fills scenes with multiple, eye darting, actions, such as at the restaurant. That's from the theatre. More principle to cinema is the mirror motif and low-key lighting. The mirror in the room of several scenes between the mother and her son often serves to show off-screen action, so, for example, we see the son is entering the room before he appears in the shot beside his mother. This allows for less crosscutting. There is one scene with stark low-key lighting (which also features a mirror), a now prevalent film technique, which was probably first to be found prominently in Danish cinema. So, in, primarily, America, one can see the first important stages in dissecting a scene, while Danish filmmakers worked on putting in scene.
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