While hosting a game of cards one night, Narumov tells his friends a story about his grandmother, a Countess. As a young woman, she had once incurred an enormous gambling debt, which she ... See full summary »
Three Scottish officers, including Sir Archi, murder Sir Arne and his household for a coffin filled with gold. The only survivor is Elsalill, who moves to relatives in Marstrand. There she ... See full summary »
Two peasant children, Mytyl and Tyltyl, are led by Berylune, a fairy, to search for the Blue Bird of Happiness. Berylune gives Tyltyl a cap with a diamond setting, and when Tyltyl turns the... See full summary »
Edwin E. Reed
Terje Vigen, a sailor, suffers the loss of his family through the cruelty of another man. Years later, when his enemy's family finds itself dependent on Terje's beneficence, Terje must ... See full summary »
Because the Baron of Chanterelle wants to preserve his family line, he forces his timid nephew Lancelot to choose one of the village maidens to wed. Lancelot flees to a monastery to escape ... See full summary »
Susie, a plain young country girl, secretly loves a neighbor boy, William. She believes in him and sacrifices much of her own happiness to promote his own ambitions, all without his ... See full summary »
A stranger comes to work at widow Halla's farm. Halla and the stranger fall in love, but when he is revealed as Eyvind, an escaped thief forced into crime by his family's starvation, they ... See full summary »
Three centuries before Christus. Young Cabiria is kidnapped by some pirates during one eruption of the Etna. She is sold as a slave in Carthage, and as she is just going to be sacrificed to... See full summary »
As a contemporary audience, we often approach silent films with an attitude of condescension. This initial sentiment lowers expectations but draws our attention to the everyday grammar of film language that we take for granted. Suddenly the glance object cut, the pan right and tilt down showing the elaborate ornamentation in the cathedral and the sparsely used close-ups become all the more impressive because we hold it to the standard of a silent film. While Father Sergius still suffers from the silent film dilemma of having the dominant influence of other mediums (such as theater and literature) it is exciting to see modern day film techniques in the infantile stage. Father Sergius is a silent film epic detailing the life of Prince Kasatsky from his years in school to his eventual position as a budding young officer. After discovering the woman he loves is the mistress to the Czar, the prince pursues a lifestyle devoid of succumbing to any and all earthly temptation as he transforms himself into the "saintly" Father Sergius. In a startling special effects sequence, Kasatsky regrets his decision longing for his former lover as she enters the frame as a ghostly spirit. Regardless of any standard preconceived silent film notions, the coordination, blocking and deep focus photography in the crowd scenes are remarkable. Also astonishing is the controversial acknowledgement of extra marital affairs within the royal family as well as the message of the film that seems to promote the excessive bourgeois lifestyle over the life of a clergyman. The regret that endures in Father Sergius suggests a longing for a life of excess, power and respect. Although arriving at a period where films were still testing the capacity of cinema, Father Sergius is an enjoyable experience of Russian cinema finding its footing.
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