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The great French film director Herr Louis Feuillade is well-known by silent film connoisseurs as the director of three fundamental, essential classic fantasy serials, "Fantômas" (1914), "Les Vampires" (1915) und "Judex" (1916). He was an innovative, fascinating and imaginative film pioneer who directed films of all genres during his prolific career.
"L'Agonie De Byzance" (1913) is a historical film that depicts the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks, an event that marked the end of the Byzantine Empire. Though this was a primitive era for the silent cinema, Herr Feuillade directs with great skill.
In the early 10's of the last century, the most basic film techniques as we know them nowadays were not developed and most of the silents were filmed with a static camera in what could be described as little more than "filmed theater." Initially this seems to be the case with "L'Agonie De Byzance" too but Herr Feuillade's mastery shines through.
For example, this oeuvre has a lavish artistic design that recreates in an astounding way the historical facts that the film describes; it was certainly a very important film production with a considerable budget for those old days. There are many extras and stunning sets.
The picture was filmed with a variety of long and medium shots and thus avoids the static stage play effect that this Herr Graf mentioned earlier. For example, when during the Turkish assault on the city of Constantinople, consecutive medium short shots give the sequence emotion and motion that makes a considerable difference in comparison with other early silent films of that time.
"L'Agonie De Byzance" is the confirmation of Herr Feuillade's talent directing any early film production in spite of the technical limitations of that era; these were defeated by the imagination of the one of the most resourceful film directors in cinema history.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must worry about the fall of one of his rich Teutonic heiress' empires.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com
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