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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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

The suspended monorail depicted in the film is the Wuppertal Suspension Railway, in Wuppertal, Germany. Built around 1900, it is still in use today and is a major civic attraction. This same monorail also features prominently in the film The Princess and the Warrior (2000). See more »

Connections

Edited from The Great Mine Disaster (1912) See more »

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User Reviews

 
haunting images, though somewhat pointless ultimately
6 September 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Basically a collection of very early "found" film footage. We get small portions of larger fictional narratives, tourist-like shots of cities, people (mostly children) posing and smiling for the camera.

Obviously, this was early in the development of the photographic image so the footage reflects the wonder and confusion many people seemed to experience at having themselves filmed. People were not as camera trained as we are now, and seem charmingly unsure as what to do.

The big draw here (at least it was for me) is the gorgeous, apparition-like texture the film creates and exists within. Much of the footage is just breath-takingly beautiful. In particular, the wide-open tracking shots of the cities are absolutely stunning. If you have that lust for old silent film and the moods it can evoke, this is right up your alley.

Remarkable as well are the snippets of larger narratives that we get. One involving a man and a woman shipwrecked on an island and what happens to them carries tremendous dramatic weight, though we only get about three scenes (and roughly ten minutes) of actual footage.

Biggest complaint I have is that the film ultimately is nothing more than what it is: a collection of found footage. Thematically, there has been no attempt by the person who put it together to create "something" with the footage. It is what it is. Nothing more, nothing less. But ultimately, it's nothing more than pretty pictures.


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