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Carl Theodor Dreyer
Emil Hass Christensen,
Preben Lerdorff Rye
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Thymiane is a beautiful young girl who is not having a storybook life. Her governess, Elizabeth, is thrown out of her home when she is pregnant, only to be later found drown. That same day, her father already has a new governess named Meta. Meinert, downstairs druggist, takes advance of her and gets Thymiane pregnant. When she refuses to marry, her baby is taken from her and she is put into a strict girls reform school. When Count Osdorff is unable to get the family to take her back, he waits for her to escape. She escapes with a friend and the friend goes with the Count while she goes to see her baby. Thymiane finds that her baby is dead, and the Count has put both girls up at a brothel. When her father dies, Thymiane marries the Count and becomes a Countess, but her past and her hatred of Meta will come back to her. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
The melodrama we would love with Stahl's and Sirk's works was born with Pabst .We are far from DW Griffith's "orphans in the storm" !Although implausible,this film has realist accents and Pabst's directing takes our breath away.And what a beautiful last line:"Nobody's lost when there's a little love!"
Melodrama is par excellence a woman's story.An unfairly treated woman.Its construction is parabolic: happiness,downfall,redemption. But "Tagebuch" is much more complex;its first part already features tragedy:Elisabeth's suicide is a sinister omen.
The reformatory where two martinets (a shrew and a terrifying smiling bald man)treat their pupils like dogs.The scene when the girls eat their soup is unforgettable.
The scene at the notary's office where Thymiane returns good for evil ,which climaxes the movie.Pabst uses no (or so few) subtitles : his pictures have the strength of a Chaplin movie.The close-up on Meinert's hand after the girl has refused to shake it,sublimates her redemption.
The final scene when Thymiane meets again her former mate and her final rebellion:"I know the benefits of that house!"
Like very few silent movies,"Tagebuch" can grab today's audience at least as much as "Pandora's box" (aka "Loulou" aka "der büchse der Pandora").Both movies have a very dense screenplay full of twists and unexpected ends -Loulou's death in the former;Thymiane's rebellion in the latter).Both feature Louise Brooks ,who remains an attractive woman even by today's canons when so many silent screen actresses'charm -and actors' - seems outdated nowadays (think of Brigitte Helm -Maria in Lang's masterpiece "Metropolis").Her charisma was so strong that she did not have to speak to move us.That may account for her failure in the talkies.
Do not miss Pabst's anti-war "West front 1918" either.It compares favorably to Milestone's "All quiet on the western front" and Gance's "J'accuse".
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