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The Forgotten: Aiming for the Heart

3 October 2012 8:15 PM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Le bonheur (1934) may be Marcel L'Herbier's best talkie—even if it is, its existence should be enough to disprove the widely and uncritically accepted assumption that the director went into a steep decline with the coming of sound.

In fact, the bigger problem is that not enough people know his work at all. In the silent era, he quite deliberately competed with Abel Gance in terms of cinematic spectacle, swinging his camera from ropes and wheeling it on a lighting stand, while also pursuing a cinema of elaborate, stylized production design. There's something inscrutable about him: he shuttles from genre trifles to experimental epics, and his true sensibility may be glimpsed as much in the former as the latter. Perhaps his homosexuality, an open secret in the film business, led him to to employ layers of careful coding more than most commercial filmmakers.

L'Herbier's early talkies include the lighter-than-air »

- David Cairns

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2012 | 2011

1 item from 2012


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