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The Love of Zero (1928)

| Short | 1928 (USA)
While playing his trombone one Sunday, the enthusiastic Zero sees Beatrix and falls in love. He returns the next week to express his feelings, and it's mutual. Over the next few months, ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Joseph Marievsky ...
Zero (as Joseph Mari)
Tamara Shavrova ...
Beatrix
Anielka Elter ...
The Woman
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Storyline

While playing his trombone one Sunday, the enthusiastic Zero sees Beatrix and falls in love. He returns the next week to express his feelings, and it's mutual. Over the next few months, they spoon, kiss, and find happiness. Then, she receives a letter from Kabul, demanding that she return to the palace of the grand vizier. The lovers part, heartbroken. Zero tries expressing himself to a woman on the street. He meets derision. Then, news of Beatrix. Does this romance end in smiles or tears? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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experimental film | See All (1) »

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1928 (USA)  »

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"You will never return, nor see Zero again"
21 January 2010 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Robert Florey broke into the mainstream with films like 'Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932),' but even then remained strongly indebted to the stylisation of German Expressionism, particularly 'The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920).' His silent short 'The Love of Zero (1927)' references Wiene's classic horror film extensively, even down to the grotesquely- distorted geometric windows, doors and walls. The plot of the film can be reduced to a single sentence – "man meets and loses the love of his life" – yet it's how the film narrates this story that is most fascinating. Just as 'Dr Caligari' used its set design to recreate the twisted annals of a deluded mind, Florey here uses similar architecture (as well a number of creative optical tricks) to reproduce the euphoria of true love, and the wretched heartbreak of romantic tragedy.

A musician named Zero (Joseph Marievsky), while playing the trombone from his balcony, falls for a beautiful woman (Tamara Shavrova) who is entranced by his music. The pair fall in love: Zero presents Beatrix with the paper cutout of a heart, a literal representation of his love, and she unites it with an identical cutout of her own. This fusion of shapes is a prominent visual motif for Florey, who often uses split- screens to emphasise that, through their love, Zero and Beatrix have become one {in a particularly breathtaking shot, Florey fuses the two faces into one, an image that must have inspired Ingmar Bergman's 'Persona (1966)'}. Later, Zero presents this same cutout to another woman (Anielka Elter), who simply laughs at his earnestness. The humiliated musician discards the heart, now flimsy and two-dimensional in its solitariness, onto the dirt.


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