Bargeman Louveau finds an abandoned boy, Victor, and with the authorities permission takes him back to his own family where he raises him. 10 years later Victor and Louveau's daughter Clara...
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Bargeman Louveau finds an abandoned boy, Victor, and with the authorities permission takes him back to his own family where he raises him. 10 years later Victor and Louveau's daughter Clara have fallen in love, and it is then that Louveau is called to Paris, where it has been discovered that Victor is really the son of Maugendré, a charcoal shipper on the Nivernaise canal. Meanwhile, Victor protects Clara when a jealous bargehand attacks her and he manages to save the family barge from crashing into the lock. Returned to his real father, Victor is sent away to be educated but misses Clara and his life on the barges. When Maugendré realizes this he lets him return and when they are married he gives Victor and Clara a barge of their own. Written by
Many silent film directors evolved during their careers and experimented with different styles, looking for the one that best expressed their artistic vision (Evolution however does not apply to aristocrats whose species have remained the same throughout the centuries).
During Herr Jean Epstein's silent period, this Herr Graf can appreciate three different stages, although there is no vast difference between them in terms of what Herr Epstein was trying to accomplish. Initially his work is permeated by naturalism and conventional film narrative; later his films become more experimental and avant-garde followed by a more realistic and documentary like style.
Accordingly, "La Belle Nivernaise" (1924) belongs to Herr Epstein's early more conventional period, though it is conventional only in Epstein terms, natürlich!, It is a beautiful and lyrical work. It tells the story of Herr Victor ( Herr Maurice Touzé ) an abandoned child who is found wandering in the city by Herr Louveau ( Herr Pierre Hot ), who works as a bargeman. He decides to raise the boy but has a child of his own, Frau Clara ( Frau Blanche Montel ) and a grumpy wife ( Frau Madame Lacroix ). As time passes, both youngsters will fall in love with each other.
The process of the love affair is beautifully filmed, and is depicted in many soulful close-ups and varied elegant techniques that bring the film to a high artistic level. The social realism (life on the barge) is intertwined with echoes of social injustice to add to the drama ( Victor's real father appears and he is separated from Clara ).
La Belle Nivernaise" is a good example of a great director in the making as he develops the technique best suited for what he is trying to convey.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must require a special permit in order to travel by barge on the Rhine to meet one of his rich old heiresses.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com
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