Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Way of Lost Souls

"Son dernier tango" [FR, title of the print]. Rue des ames perdues (BG). The Woman He Scorned. Langenneiden sielujen katu. GB 1929. PC: Warner Bros. P: Charles E. Whittaker. D: Paul Czinner. SC: Czinner, Whittaker. DP: Adolf Schlasy. Starring Pola Negri (Louise), Warwick Ward (Maxim), Hans Rehmann (John). 1835 m /22 fps/ 73'. A sonorized silent. Version française, intertitres français. From Cinémathèque de Toulouse. Restored by AFF/CNC. Presenta Martine Offroy. Wednesday 6 July 2005, Cinema Lumière 1, Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna. OK high contrast print. Czinner's first non-German-language film, after five brilliant Bergner vehicles his first without her. Stark melodrama takes place in the red-light district and the lighthouse. Pola escapes from her criminal boyfriend Maxim and marries the lighthouse keeper John, but her past life returns to the sheltered tower. Not one of Czinner's masterpieces. Memorable: strong expressionistic sense of milieu and atmosphere; Pola's funnily overblown advances (feeling his telescope); one of the most surprising instances of montage in the history of the cinema: the lighthouse keeper's boat is wrecked in a storm, and in the next shot he weds Pola in the church. This is one of the transitional films from the German silent age to the French poetic realism (Dans les rues, La Rue sans nom) and the US film noir. Some of its English and French titles connect it directly to the German street films. - Omaggio ad Raymond Borde - following Natacha Laurent: he preferred the road less travelled, never settled for reproducing what others had done before him, actively refusing any nostalgia, an explorer of the seventh art. "We look for what thrills us: freedom, poetry and love".

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