Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Die Geliebte Roswolskys

Roswolskyn rakastajatar / Roswolskyn lemmitty. The title of the print: Quem da mais? Romance do amor. DE 1921. PC: Messter-Film GmbH, Berlin. D: Felix Basch; SC: Henrik Galeen, Hans Janowitz; DP: Carl Drews; CAST: Asta Nielsen (Mary Verhag), Paul Wegener (Eugen Roswolsky), Max Landa (Baron Albich); orig. l: 1620 m; 1245 m /16 fps/ 54 min, col. (Desmet colour, duplicating original tinting); from: Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv, Berlin. Portuguese intertitles. E-subtitles in English + Italian, grand piano: Tama Karema. Viewed at Teatro Verdi, Pordenone, 5 Oct 2009. - From the GCM Catalogue: "The original material for Die Geliebte Roswolskys is one of the few surviving colour positives of a Nielsen film, and was given to the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv in 1989 by the Cinemateca Brasileira, São Paulo. It was only recently copied by Haghefilm, using the Desmet method. This project was the result of a collaborative effort between the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv and the Danish Film Institute.
Photographically, the film is of top quality. Besides very beautiful tinting, it has interesting camerawork, with superimpositions, shots of details (a hairbrush, jewellery, etc.), and a striking use of mirror-shots. By contrast, the editing seems choppy, as if the film was abridged at a later date; Nielsen’s acting relies on continuity.
In her films Nielsen frequently played the role of the celebrated artiste that she was in real life, including her decline into the abyss of old age; just as often she embodied poor girls who sought a living working in low music halls or as dance hostesses. These roles often hinted at the shadow of prostitution.
Die Geliebte Roswolskys offers a new take on this topic. Nielsen appears as a chorus girl. The corruption of the show-business world becomes evident: whether the little dancer gets to become a soloist depends on influential men; the mere rumour that she is the mistress of a prominent man makes her a public personality, destined for fame and fortune.
In a peripheral scene, late one evening the poor chorus girl is standing in a crowd waiting for the arrival of the star, and, like those around her, looks on in admiration as the radiant beauty gets out of a limousine on the arm of a gentleman. She herself will soon physically experience how the illusion of notoriety ends in deception, and finally theft The film does not focus on the gulfs in society, but rather adheres to the form of a “portrayal of the morals” of the better-off elements of society who abandon themselves to luxury and pleasure. This impression might of course be the result of the abridgements. – Heide Schlüpmann, Karola Gramann. " - Two worlds juxtaposed: dancing in the music hall and speculation in the stock market. There is a lively surface in this film. There is some expressionistic imagery on Wegener's office with the wireless. -  The slimy tabloid journalist and the slimy music hall director get on well together. They try to speculate on an innocent kind contact between Mary Verhag and Eugen Roswolsky. There is a similarity in the situation to the story Shubun by Akira Kurosawa. - The print is so truncated that it is difficult to make sense of the natural rhythm of the performances. - Yet the visual quality of the images is often fine.

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