The business tycoon Nicolas Saccard is nearly ruined by his rival Gunderman, when he tries to raise capital for his company. To push up the price of his stock, Saccard plans a publicity ... See full summary »
Denis is distracted: he's studying all day for philosophy exams and working all night at the flower market; plus, whenever he closes his eyes, he dreams of a mysterious woman in white. His ... See full summary »
Two soldiers--searching the Sahara for Atlantis--are captured by raiders from the lost city. They are taken before its beautiful queen who has over 50 mummified ex-lovers! What follows is ... See full summary »
A peasant comes to St. Petersburg to find work. He unwittingly helps in the arrest of an old village friend who is now a labor leader. The unemployed peasant is also arrested and sent to ... See full summary »
In the Crimea, the Reds and the Whites aren't done fighting, and Jeanne discovers that the man she loves is a Bolshevik (when he kills her father). Penniless, she returns to Paris where she... See full summary »
On his way through the woods to his marriage, Fadinard's horse eats the hat of a married lady spending here a few moments with her lover. Fadinard has to find the very same rare hat to ... See full summary »
Marie wants to escape from her job and also from her lover, Paul, an unemployed drunk. She dreams of going off with Jean, a dockworker. The two men quarrel and fight over Marie on two ... See full summary »
In 1918 a simple Mongol herdsman escapes to the hills after brawling with a western capitalist fur trader who cheats him. In 1920 he helps the partisans fight for the Soviets against the ... See full summary »
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 »
During a dinner, given by a wealthy baron and his wive, attended by four of her suitors in a 19th century German manor, a shadow-player rescues the marriage by giving all the guests a ... See full summary »
The business tycoon Nicolas Saccard is nearly ruined by his rival Gunderman, when he tries to raise capital for his company. To push up the price of his stock, Saccard plans a publicity stunt involving the aviator Jacques Hamelin flying across the Atlantic to Guyana and drilling for oil there, much to the dismay of Hamelin's wife Line. While Hamelin is away, Saccard tries to seduce Line. Line finally realizes that she and her husband were pawns in Saccard's scheme, and she accuses him of stock fraud. Written by
It does not matter that this is adapted from Zola, and generally received then and now as a prestigious release that should be accorded a place in history. It matters because it's one of the most striking films in the transition towards a cinema that does not merely chronicle life, whose primary means of expression is no longer drama and does not aspire to emotion, but instead sculpts from space and uses the camera as a calligrapher would a brush.
There is a match-cut from the engine of a plane to a madly spinning camera looking down from a ceiling that is perhaps the most impressive in the entire 30 years of cinema until then. And there is a lot of the camera choreographed to dance, or painting with our gaze incomplete motions across rooms.
Resnais would take all this thirty years later to revitalize French cinema.
Story-wise, it is about two puppet-masters vying for the control of the same world. The film begins on the level of the stage, the stockmarket, this new temple of the modern world devoted to capital, and pulls back to reveal who holds the strings, who re-invents the broadcasted reality.
Like Zen calligraphy, this is not about the painted signs on the scroll and what they mean, but the disciplined soul revealed by the flow of ink. Watch it like you would unfold a scroll, the ink is in the image.
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