Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Rééducation des mutilés: aux champs / [Rehabilitation of Invalids: at Farms]

Image not from the movie. Exposition 14-18 » La rééducation des mutilés. 1914/1918 Médecine au champ d'honneur - Université de Montpellier. Le mutilé était laissé libre de choisir la prothèse qu'il désirait en tenant compte toutefois des conseils du chef du centre appareillage.

(FR 1917-18), photog: Louis Chaix, Alphonse Gibory, prod: Service Cinématographique de l’Armée (SCA); Service Photographique et Cinématographique de l’Armée (SPCA), 35 mm, 294 m, 18’21” (14 fps); titles: FRA, source: Établissement de Communication et de Production Audiovisuelle de la Défense (ECPAD), Paris.
    Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pordenone: Grande Guerra 100.
    Grand piano: Neil Brand.
    Teatro Verdi, e-subtitles in English and Italian, 4 Oct 2017.

Jay Weissberg (GCM 2017): "There are many films from World War I showing former combatants with severe war injuries being fitted with prosthetic devices and trained for occupations that will make them as independent as possible. None of this footage is easy to watch. I’ve often wondered if audiences of the time were so used to seeing men with amputations in their daily lives that the elements that disturb us today were less distressing then. Some of these films were screened in regular cinemas, such as Rééducation des mutilés de guerre belges in May 1917, praised by Hebdo-Film for showing rehabilitation efforts by the Belgian government for men who had “gloriously lost” their limbs during the fighting. The feature following this sobering actuality was Youth’s Endearing Charms, starring Mary Miles Minter; check your irony at the door."

"The number of French soldiers with amputated limbs due to war injuries is impossible to calculate, with figures ranging from 70,000 to one million. They formed such a significant segment of former fighters that at least as early as 1916, newspapers and magazines appeared geared to these men and their concerns: Journal des Mutilés, Réformés et Blessés de la Guerre (1916-1944; with various title changes, including Blessés to Victimes); Le Mutilé de l’Algérie (1916-1938); Le Mutilé de la Vienne (1920-1922); La France Mutilée (1920-26); etc. Articles were filled with policy questions, health issues, discussions of prosthetics, even book reviews, with much space devoted to re-training. In the last year of the war, it was estimated that 60% of the wounded were from the agricultural sector (Journal des Mutilés, Réformés et Victimes de la Guerre, 9 February 1918), which put an enormous strain on the nation’s already decimated food resources. Fitting these ex-soldiers with artificial limbs and teaching them how to cultivate the land again was therefore of vital interest to the government."

"Rééducation des mutilés: aux champs shows men being given new prosthetics and engaging in farm activities (as well as apiculture) in the area around Lyon. Worth noting is the presence of a field worker and his embroiderer wife, clearly chosen to convey the idea of a happy and productive family life notwithstanding amputated limbs (the couple appear in other compilations). Filmed by Louis Chaix (later a frequent collaborator of Jacques de Baroncelli) and Alphonse Gibory (who worked on La Femme française pendant la guerre), the footage was created to encourage wounded farmers and their families that life could be “normal,” and discourage them from abandoning agriculture precisely when it was most needed. An extraordinary article in the Journal des Mutilés, Réformés et Victimes de la Guerre (28 September 1918) by R. Freytag, director of the journal Ciné-Commercial, details his frustration that his lobbying for the use of film to reassure and educate wounded farmers had yet to be acted upon. This idea was reinforced two months later in Le Film (19 November 1918): “viewing such films would do much towards returning to the fields many of our glorious wounded comrades.”
" Jay Weissberg

AA: Non-fiction. While women joined the workforce in high spirits, men mutilated on the battleground were equipped with prosthetic limbs in order to continue their work. This film documents in detail how to use the saw and the rake, how to make hay, harness a horse, carry water, and give water to a bull when you have lost your limbs. And even more elementally, how to eat, how to drink. The wife helps to shave. But even harvesters can be operated with prosthetic limbs, and fields plown with bulls; also beekeeping is possible. A good visual quality in the print.

No comments: