Mr. Joly, doctor Cordelier's lawyer, is amazed to discover that his client and friend leaves his possessions to a stranger, Opale, a sadistic criminal. He needs this man to prove that people's behavior can be adjusted at will...
In Peru in the eighteenth century. Camilla, the star of a theater company, hesitates between three men. The Viceroy gives her his magnificent golden coach. A young Spanish officer suggests ... See full summary »
A charismatic thief makes friends with a bankrupt baron who comes to live in the thief's slum. Meanwhile the thief seeks the love of a young woman, who is held emotionally captive by her slumlord family.
After seeing D. W. Griffith's epic Intolerance, Denmark's greatest director, Carl Theodor Dreyer (The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr), was inspired to make his own four-episode historical ... See full summary »
A propaganda film of the communist party of France, showing who the comrades help the proletarian people against the capitalists. It also features propagandistic speeches of leading members... See full summary »
La Petite Marchande D'Allumettes is another of Renoir's bleak portrayals of meek and meager lives at odds with their milieu. Something about it though feels like a re-hashing of earlier Renoir works (Une Vie and La Fille...even Nana). This piece was filmed in the Vieux-Colombier and produced by Tedesco. I conjecture (or just straight up fantasize) that the pair brainstormed on a film concept that was to be "suited" for Renoir and Hessling together. I imagine the idea of adapting a famous tale (Andersen's short story) as a compromise (never a great way to produce art imo)... and what you get is something not quite original in any way whatsoever. Now, that isn't to say that the French Impressionist film techniques used in the hallucination sequences are not constructed and crafted with technical precision and genius intuition... but that it was already fertile ground for Renoir (and Hessling for that matter). I have previously hypothesized that some of Renoir's silent work was prophecy and prognostication through forming a death allegory between human freedom and the film industry itself. This may have been the last time that Renoir favored a stylistic system constructed around a protagonist's psychology and showcasing avant-garde editing techniques (impossible to say without a full print of Le Tournoi available). Certainly, Renoir's next film, Tire au Flanc would begin a shift toward a dominant stylistic system and diegetic construction (characterized by depth of field, mobile framing, multiple protagonists, etc.) that marked Renoir as a unique and exceptional filmmaker. Interesting also, that it was not sound film production that spurred this stylistic shift for Renoir as Tire was a silent film (although, I do believe it may have been the imminence of sound film that also had Renoir thinking one step ahead).
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