Finis Terræ is a 1929 French silent drama film written and directed by Jean Epstein. The story centres on a small group of men harvesting seaweed off the coast of Brittany, and the problems... See full summary »
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Recently restored ,the quality of the pictures is excellent for a 1934 movie. This is a simple story ,not an intellectual bore and it's accessible to anyone;in a word :popular.
A short (about 40 min) ,entirely in Breton ,with subtitles :A French who would not know the Breton language could not understand the lines,which is minor,for the strength of the pictures tell almost everything.
A famous director from the silent era,now long over,Epstein found it hard to adjust to the talkies :that's why the first sequences ,depicting life in a religious school ,are certainly the weakest.We're not told the exact reason for which the student is expelled ,but, as further acquaintance shows,this young man was born to be an outcast all of his life:disowned by his father,fired by the fishermen because his little finger is claw-like and brings bad luck.Even if they put their faith in Virgin Mary (the propitiatory procession ),they remain suspicious superstitious men.And even love is denied because he has fallen for the châtelaine who is to marry a rich count.
The love story is told in a legendary way (the ending) and the white veil on the cliff might have inspired Jean Grémillon for a "Pattes Blanches " shot.
There are few lines ;the tale is told (or should I say sung) by a Chanteur who appears on the screen and depicts the fishermen's dangerous work and the peasants'hard labor.
Most of all ,it shows Epstein's (who was born a Pole though)love for the sea by and large ,and for Brittany in particular:it began in 1928,with "Finis Terrae" ,and would continue with such works as "L'Or Des Mers" (1932,another tragic love story which looks like this one) and "La Femme Du Bout Du Monde" (1937)
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