Four prints of this rare Dreyer film survive and are held in the following European archives: the Bundesarchiv, the Cinematheque de Toulouse in France, the Cinematheque Royale in Brussels, the Deutsche Institut fur Filmkunde in Wiesbaden, Germany. See more »
An Interesting Early Oeuvre Of The Danish Director
Russia was in the silent year of 1905, at the dawn of its first revolution; the historic upheavals to come were already beginning but in the meantime, the population was still full of resentments, in particular towards the Jewish minority. That is why the Jewish youngster Dame Hanna Segal leaves her village hoping to find refuge with her brother Jakow, a rich lawyer who was converted to Christianity, in the city Saint-Petersburg.
In that city Dame Hanna will find an old friend of hers, Sascha, who has joined a group of revolutionaries; among the radicals is Herr Rylowitsch, who later denounces his companions to the Russian authorities and who, dressed as an itinerant monk, begins making anti-Semitic speeches. Herr Rylowitsch with the support of Herr Fedja, once Dame Hanna's childhood playmate, will provoke a pogrom against the Jewish population in Dame Hanna's village.
"Die Gezeichneten" was the fourth film directed by the Danish Herr Carl Theodor Dreyer in the silent year of 1922; it is not a well-known film but has survived in different prints in four different silent archives around the silent world. The film was a German production and had the participation of many international actors ( including the Polish film director Herr Richard Boleslawski who would later have a career in Amerika ) although Herr Dreyer preferred Russian actors for the main characters of the film because he thought that they were better than the German actors ( this is one of the reasons for the eternal enmity among those countries ).
This Herr Von would like to highlight overall two interesting aspects about this film; the first one is that the oeuvre was based in a successful novel written by Herr Dreyer's countryman, Herr Aage Madelund, a writer who lived through the horrors of the Russian pogrom. This background is evident during the first part of the film because Herr Dreyer gives much importance to the details of the social facts and the origins of the pogrom ( discrimination, prejudices, defamation ) and how this affected our heroine's daily life and her surroundings, first in her village town and then in Saint Petersburg . The consequences are carefully depicted in the film.
The other striking element of the film is at the end when the tension towards the Jews finally explodes during the pogrom sequences, astonishing the audience with the vitality of the images ( excellent montage ),and the realism of the violence and brutality where the fury of the masses toward the Jews is shown mercilessly; a powerful meeting of film and history.
And what's in the middle??... well, the usual tempered pace typical of Dreyer probably due to Herr Dreyer's interest in being faithful to the novel but the film seems excessively literary during that part, and there are too many intertitles explaining those complicated social and political facts. Still, the action picks up as the narrative proceeds.
Obviously "Die Gezeichneten" is not a perfect Dreyer film for this German count it seems too ambitious, uneven, wandering in a monotonous way, especially in the middle of the film, as this Herr Graf mentioned above. In spite of these flaws, it is, after all, an interesting early oeuvre of the Danish director with many remarkable moments that any silent film fan around the world would appreciate to watch.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must dance the horah with a Jewish heiress.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/
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