In the Crimea, the Reds and the Whites aren't done fighting, and Jeanne discovers that the man she loves is a Bolshevik (when he kills her father). Penniless, she returns to Paris where she...
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In the Crimea, the Reds and the Whites aren't done fighting, and Jeanne discovers that the man she loves is a Bolshevik (when he kills her father). Penniless, she returns to Paris where she works for her uncle. Soon after, her lover Andreas is in France to organize the sailors in Toulon. So also is a thief, traitor, and libertine, Khalibiev, who wants to seduce Jeanne. His schemes, Jeanne and Andreas's naivete, and a lost diamond bring the lovers to the brink of tragedy.Written by
I know that G. W. Pabst is a world-famous director, so I know that many will disagree with me on this one, but I truly disliked "Die Lebe der Jeanne Ney". I also know that it has a much more than respectable overall score of 7.9...but I just thought the film was very overrated and there are much better German films of this era. Most of my reasons for disliking the film are because the script is just goofy and makes little sense, but I also thought that the performance of the supposedly blind woman was very poor and I would have expected more of Pabst.
The film begins during the Russian Revolution. Jeanne and her father are there on some sort of diplomatic-type mission and her father laments that the years spent in the country have been a waste of time. At this point, you see Jeanne thinking about her experiences--falling in love with a Communist and her championing of the Bolshevik revolution. This is the sort of plot, by the way, that NEVER would have been allowed just a few years later during the Nazi years--no way would such a film ever see the light of day because it is pro-Communist.
An evil schemer, Khalibiev, has created a list of supposed Communinists and sold it to Mr. Ney. Jeanne's lover comes to Ney to demand the list and in the process he kills his lover's father. Jeanne comes in to see this happen and soon flees to Paris to stay with an uncle. However, and this makes no sense at all, she STILL is in love with her Bolshevik boyfriend--even though she knows he murdered her father--who she supposedly loved!! Who writes this sort of stuff?! Once in Paris, Jeanne is lusted after by her nasty Uncle--who happens to be a private detective. At the same time, her blind cousin is courted by Khalibiev--who ALSO lusts after Jeanne!! Eventually the Uncle is killed by Khalibiev (it's a long story) and Jeanne's Communist lover (who just happens to be in Paris as well--it's odd how NONE of the Russians in the film seem to stay in Russia!!) is implicated. So, it's up to the plucky Jeanne to save the day.
Very little of this movie seems plausible. Mostly it's because of Jeanne's unwillingness to bear some sort of grudge for the murder of her father, but there is still more that makes no sense. Khalibiev is a scoundrel but is so unsubtle and obvious you wonder why it took anyone more than a fraction of a second to suspect him! And as for the blind girl, she needed acting lessons and Pabst did nothing to stop this overacting. Get this....in her own home where she has lived for years, the lady gropes around like she's never been there before AND she never looks towards people when they talk. Had Pabst or this bad actress spent more than a minute or two with a blind person, then they would have realized this was all wrong. Yes, I expect that by 1927 the films had become sophisticated enough that they should have gotten this right.
Overall, the film is a silly trifle and not much more. For a better German silent film, try something by Fritz Lang or F.W. Murnau...or a good film by G. W. Pabst, such as "Die Freudlose Gasse" or "Tagebuch Einer Verlorenen". Or, see and here Pabst's brilliant sound film "Westfront 1918", for that matter.
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