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Mute Witnesses (1914)

Nemye svideteli (original title)
In order to allow another servant to go home to be with her children, Nastya agrees to serve in her place, as a maid in the household in which Nastya's grandfather is a porter. Soon ... See full summary »

Director:

Yevgeni Bauer
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Cast

Credited cast:
Aleksandr Chargonin Aleksandr Chargonin ... Pavel Kostrizyn
Aleksandr Kheruvimov Aleksandr Kheruvimov ... The porter
Dora Tschitorina Dora Tschitorina ... Nastya, his grand-daughter
Viktor Petipa Viktor Petipa ... Baron von Rehren
Elsa Krueger Elsa Krueger ... Yelena, Kostrizyn's bride
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Andrej Gromov Andrej Gromov
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Storyline

In order to allow another servant to go home to be with her children, Nastya agrees to serve in her place, as a maid in the household in which Nastya's grandfather is a porter. Soon afterwards, the woman who owns the house goes on a trip, leaving her son Pavel at home. Pavel is engaged to Ellen, but Ellen flirts openly with other men. Nastya and the servants quickly realize that Ellen is having an ongoing romantic affair with Baron von Rehren. This puts the servants, and especially the sensitive Nastya, in a painfully uncomfortable position. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Russia

Language:

Russian

Release Date:

29 April 1914 (Russia) See more »

Also Known As:

Mute Witnesses See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
Mundane
20 June 2005 | by CineanalystSee all my reviews

This is part of the early phase of Bauer's work; there is little in it that is remarkable. The story, class distinctions and all (even the love circle), is interesting enough, but Bauer's uncharacteristically prosaic film-making detracts from much of the weight it might have had. There are a few exceptions: a shot through a door, or from an overhead angle. The sparing use of intertitles can be commended, as well.

I suppose, Bauer is asking viewers to take in the scenes, the props and spaces. Yet, this film could've benefited from better use of the architecture. There are some nice lighting effects, such as characters turning on and off diegetic lighting sources. The problem is that most of the film consists of long takes with a stationary camera. Bauer had tried and would try harder: Vera's bedroom in "Twilight of a Woman's Soul", the death opera in "Daydreams", the outside gardens in "The Dying Swan", or the pans and dollies in "After Death" to expose the rooms at a party.

Bauer's "A Life for a Life" focuses on a love circle, but mostly upon the mise-en-scène, just as with this, "Silent Witnesses". The set designs are better in that film, but more important is the film-making to support them; otherwise, it's merely a filmed play. The stagy long takes of long shots in "Silent Witnesses", compounded by a lack of continuity editing makes for film-making that is as mundane as the servants' work.


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