An Exemplary Oeuvre Full Of Inventive Narrative Resources And Techniques
Poor little Marie-Louise! ( Frau Suzanne le Bret ); she is a little child of Paris who once had a happy and bourgeoisie family but due to some misadventures of destiny, her beloved father, Herr Pierre de Valen ( Herr Émile Keppens ) must leave his home in order to make war against some exotic enemies of France beyond the sea. Due to the fact that in olden days communications were rather slow (carrier pigeons could take years) Marie Louise's father was given up for dead. Marie Louise's mother, broken by grief, dies soon after, leaving poor Marie Louise alone and an orphan.
She is sent to a strict boarding school but, being French, doesn't like the discipline. She escapes only to fall into the clutches of a crook known as "The Graduate" ( Herr Louis Leubas ) who gives her to a drunken cobbler. Happily the soused shoemaker has a young and merciful assistant, Bosco ( Herr Maurice Lagrenée ) who will be her protector.
Unexpectedly one day awesome news arrives in France: Marie-Louise's father has been found alive after so many years!! He receives honors as a war hero but his first task is to find Marie-Louise. The Graduate tells him he will deliver the child for a sum but, after receiving the money from the little girl's father, he takes her and runs off. Herr Pierre de Valen and Bosco go in pursuit.
The film "L'Enfant De Paris" (1913) by Herr Léonce Perret is influenced by what the French call "Roman Feuilleton", those serial stories published in newspapers in France during the XIX century that were very popular among commoner readers. In English terms these could be defined as "Victorian melodramas". Usually these stories involved upper class characters finding themselves in the slums.
These melodramas could thus be seen as bringing social contrasts and class struggle to the surface. "L'Enfant De Paris" has such characteristics but Herr Perret uses the conventions of such stories in an exquisite and very cinematic manner.
The sorrows and miseries of our little heroine are depicted carefully during the two hours of the film (an unusually long running time in such early days ), from her comfortably bourgeoisie life to the underworld. This make for a shocking contrast: We see a society in class crisis (economic success for some, misery, poverty and alcoholism for others). Herr Perret creates the perfect atmosphere for a true "Roman Feuilleton" but he avoids excessive sentimentality thus making the little heroine's reunion with her father all the more touching "L'Enfant De Paris" (1913) is an astonishing film wherein all Herr Léonce Perret's virtues as an early skillful director can be seen at their height, an exemplary oeuvre full of inventive narrative resources and techniques that certainly were ahead of their time.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must find a niece who was lost some years ago during a visit to the Schloss.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com
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