Friday, November 28, 2008


Ajomies / The Phantom Carriage / La Charrette fantôme. SE 1920. PC: Svensk Filmindustri. D: Victor Sjöström. Based on the novel by Selma Lagerlöf (1912). DP: Julius Jaenzon. Revisited in a Cinemateket / Svenska Filminstitutet pre-Desmet print, with beautiful toned effects, with e-subtitles in Finnish by Lena Talvio. 1937 m /16 fps/ 106 min. Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 27 Nov 2008. - I revisited the first 30 min. The pre-Desmet print looks better in Orion. The magic light and the vivid expressions become visible. - The deathbed of the Salvation Army nurse. The utter despair of the drunkard's wife. The desolation of the poor home. The three drunkards in the graveyard. The lit clockface. The pain, the sorrow, the horror. The two vignettes illustrating the driver's work: the nobleman putting the bullet through his brain, the victim of the boatwreck being collected from the bottom of the sea. The restless sea. I often include this film in the best horror films, but sometimes they strike it, as it is not a genre picture. But for me, horror means the encounter with personified death and personified evil, and this film has both. Victor Sjöström bravely and convincingly personifies bottomless evil, him who can even infect his own children with the lethal cough.

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