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Histoire de détective (1929)

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Pierre Bourgeois ...
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Experimentation And Artistic Chaos

Herr Charles Dekeukeleire's silent career stands out even in this modern day for its singularity and his avant-garde style which was heavily influenced by surrealism and photography. Those bizarre French artists were particularly important for Herr Dekeukeleire who, one must keep in mind, was Belgian( that European country where one half can't stand the other one; that is to say, a land not unlike an aristocratic marriage… ) so it was easy for him to apply those "film folies" in his oeuvres, with permission of the Flemish. "Histoire De Détective" (1929) is a good example of Herr Dekeukeleire's artistic interests which are drawn from the most important European avant-garde movements of the last century.

In spite of the title, "Histoire De Détective" is not a conventional or classical detective story; on the contrary, Herr Dekeukeleire warns the audience at the start of the film that there will be no conventional film narrative. This is obvious right from the beginning: a consecutive display of disjointed images connected in a mysterious and strange way, something typical of the avant-garde spirit, natürlich!.

The combination of French avant-garde film, Russian montage and aesthetics, and suggestive photographic images becomes a kind of "totum revolutum" that at first causes bewilderment. However, little by little the film gains interest and seduces the audience by its experimentation and artistic chaos. Breaking out of conventional film narrative and communicating in an original way is of course the purpose of avant-garde. The audience may be shocked and upset but eventually a breakthrough is made; even this conservative German count, not very fond of such novelties-especially ones issuing from France-was won over and for that incredible achievement Herr Dekeukeleire's is to be congratulated, ja wohl!.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must suggest to one of his frenchified Teutonic rich heiresses a trip to Flanders.


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