This film is a compilation of scenes from silent films made between 1905 and 1915 that sat in storage in an Amsterdam cinema for many years. The title refers to the deteriorating nitrate ... See full summary »

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Cast

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(archive footage)
Anni Timm ...
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Storyline

This film is a compilation of scenes from silent films made between 1905 and 1915 that sat in storage in an Amsterdam cinema for many years. The title refers to the deteriorating nitrate film stock used in these films. Written by Erik Gregersen <erik@astro.as.utexas.edu>

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Documentary

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11 October 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lyrical Nitrate  »

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1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Most, if not all, of the film material sourced for this project was originally part of the collection of Dutch cinema operator and entrepreneur Jean Desmet (1875-1956). The Desmet collection includes over 900 films from the United States, Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands and other places, as well as related documents and publicity items (posters, stills and so on). See more »

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Edited from Alexandra (1915) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Achingly Poetic...Painfully Beautiful...
28 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

VERY VERY FEW films can move me to tears.

This is one of them. Both the tragedy of the lost films, the ravishing beauty of the subjects captured and the precious fragments preserved here are at once poetic and pitiful.

The glorious travelogue footage of a world since vanished; the literally flickering images of men and women long since dead; the faces of children who would today be pushing 100 years old and the pathetic remains of deteriorated film footage bringing the program to a close on an eloquent and wrenching contrast...

For me the most riveting moments were those of Lyda Borelli. For all I know the fragments presented here are all that survive of her entire film career -and that alone renders into greater perspective the stunning artistry she projects simply and subtly with her eyes...a gesture...the subtle movement of her head. Even her very presence projects intensity and drama in shots where she is standing still.

It is completely possible, in the seven or so minutes that her clips are presented, to be moved and touched and involved in whatever tragic scene(s) she is enacting -even without their original context.


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