Saturday, June 27, 2009

Vu iz emes?

Dov'è la verità? / Afn yam un Ellis Island. LV-RU 1913. D: Semion Mintus. Based on the play by Abraham Chomer (Nohum Meir Chaïkevitch). CAST: Anna Liesma, Herbert Konrad, Janis Ozols/Ozolkaïa, Lucia Liepste-Ozols; PC: Production Semion Mintus (Riga). 35mm. Orig: 1200 m. 848 m. 41’ a 18 fps. No intertitles. Lacking intertitles have been replaced at the beginning of each reel with summarizing Russian intertitles. From: Gosfilmofond. Presenta Christophe Gautier, grand piano: Donald Sosin, earphone translation in Italian and English. Viewed at Cinema Lumière 1, Bologna, 27 June 2009. - Print ok, at first high contrast, dark, screened maybe too fast. - The earphone translation was terrible, which made the film impossible to understand, as titles were missing, and there were only summarizing Russian intertitles here and there. - According to the programme book: A melodrama shot by a Jewish producer from Riga that narrates the misfortunes of a young student under Tsarist rule. She lost her parents in the Kishinev pogrom and now studies in Riga, where the police decide to pick on her. She does not have the right to residence so she must register as a prostitute. She is arrested by mistake, loses her mind, and dies, despite the actions of her boyfriend who gets her out of prison. - Semion Mintus, owner of one of the largest theaters in Riga (Le Colisée) founded a distribution company in 1909 that covered the Baltic regions of the empire. He produced many films on Jewish subjects from 1912 till 1913. The story supposedly circulated as a form of "film play": actors behind the screen acted out repeated performances of it. In 1913, the story was made for the screen in Odessa by Miron Grossman (Studio Mirograf). - Strong images: the woman in prison, accused of theft; visions of the pogrom; the woman on her sickbed.

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