A man whose wife has died remarries, and his new wife has a daughter of her own from a previous marriage. The man's young son, however, who loved his mother deeply and misses her terribly, ... See full summary »
Pierre (Pierre Richard-Willm), a young lawyer, has enormous debts due to his mistress Florence (Marie Bell), and her whims of luxury life. Pierre has gone too far and put the family firm in... See full summary »
Those five are unemployed penniless workers. Together they win 100,000 Francs with the national lottery. Instead of sharing the money, they buy a ruin and build an open-air cafe. But ... See full summary »
A stranger comes to work at widow Halla's farm. Halla and the stranger fall in love, but when he is revealed as Eyvind, an escaped thief forced into crime by his family's starvation, they ... See full summary »
A sincere working-class 13-year old in France is adopted by a well-meaning philanthropic millionairess from America -- who promises his doting mother that the boy will have the finest education -- but things are not so simple.
Claire Lescot is a famous prima donna. All men want to be loved by her. Among them is the young scientist Einar Norsen. When she mocks at him, he leaves her house with the declared ... See full summary »
Léonid Walter de Malte,
A young couple, Renee and Pierre, take one night a room at the Hotel du Nord, in Paris, near the canal Saint-Martin. They want to die together, but after having shooted at Renee, Pierre ... See full summary »
There's one thing to note here, the old man's subjective experience of the courtroom where he's on trial, and later on the nightmare where it is more vividly relived; figures are unnaturally large or small, blacks and whites are inverted, and the judges storm from their pedestals across the room in thunderous slow-motion. It's an arresting sequence of internal anxieties.
So even though the film has been jotted down in film history as realist
the Parisian marketplace bustling with activity, the sellers pushing
their carts down cobble-streets - it is this, impressionist we call it now, inversed look of objective reality from inside the mirror that strikes some spark now.
But compared to what more renowned French filmmakers - Gance, Epstein, L'Herbier - were attempting at the time or were gearing to, it leaves something to be desired. Example: the state prosecutor, whose court rhetorics intimidate the simple old man, is envisioned as gigantic; but Feyder frames him in a full shot that makes the court appear miniscule and the prosecutor normal, which is clearly not what was intended from what the intertitle lets us gather.
So it is all a bit improvised for effect, in an effort, that was taken up in France at the time, to distend cinema from the theatrical point-of-view foisted upon it by the earlier generation of filmmakers.
The moral of the story is actually more interesting; it is not the rigid, surreal system of law and justice that tears the individual, this anomy is endured with quiet, baffled dignity and some measure of ritual fatalism, but the society that bestows a final respect on the word of this system; a collective whole which Feyder reveals to be thoroughly hypocritical, petty, small-minded, and ultimately heartless.
So it is not surprsing that the guardian angel turns out to be a kid; not yet swallowed in this collective cruelty, a person who can see from the heart.
Other than that, there are some lovely evening atmospheres that you may want to see; empty streets lined up with lights, a bridge across an expanse of water. It's all painterly, quite evocative of a sense of place.
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