Rediscover Jacques Feyder French Film Master: Queen of Atlantis/Crainquebille/Faces of Children
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(Oct 24, 2006)
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The jewel of the set is unquestionably FACES OF CHILDREN released in 1925. Shot on location in the French Alps, it tells the story of a sensitive boy's reactions to his mother's death and his father's remarriage. The film is honest, understated, beautifully photographed, and performed by all with consumate skill especially Jean Forest as the boy. Photography is the principal componet in all these films as Feyder knows how to use movement within a frame for maximum impact without a lot of razzle dazzle. However he does not hesitate to use photographic tricks to emphasize a point.
CRAINQUEBILLE from 1923 tells the story of an old vegetable peddler in Paris who becomes victimized by the legal system after a simple misunderstanding. Incredible shots of Paris as it used to be are combined with portrait like closeups of the old man and the people around him. Jean Renoir had to know this film well. The film also introduces several surreal shots a la Abel Gance in depicting the world of French justice which help to magnify the old man's plight in being trapped in a world he cannot understand.Read more ›
They show the impressive quality of his directing (also of children), his editing genius, his realism, his feeling for dramatic build-ups, his psychological insight and his predilection for spectacular sceneries.
‘Crainquebille’, based on a short story by Anatole France, is a tale that comes straight out of the ‘Belly of Paris’. Its main theme is friendship (here between two street vendors: an old peddler and a newsboy) and its opposite, exclusion and hate. The movie exposes the brutal power of the law (the police and the judges), the coldness and cynicism of the bourgeoisie and social ostracism of ‘stained’ people (even when a trial is rigged).
The movie excels by its realism (the street and market scenes) and by the acting of its main characters.
‘Queen of Atlantis’ is based on an exotic novel by Pierre Benoit. Its main theme is a subconscious male fear: the fatal attraction by a male devouring female. Even the heat of the Sahara cannot stop the seductive force of a sex goddess. An appealing element in this movie is the quality of the cast.
The most astonishing picture in this set is ‘Faces of Children’, based on an original screenplay by J. Feyder and his wife, F. Rosay. It is a major masterpiece in the history of the 7th art. The main theme is the bond between a mother and her child even after the mother’s death.
The editing is fascinating: one frame cuts (a technique later used by D. Vertov and A. Resnais and their followers) to evoke an obsessive dream and the cutting and mixing of two scenes in order to enhance the dramatic tension.
Other elements are fetishism (see L.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This charming movie made me fall in love with silent films. The acting, especially the children, was natural and superb. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Aviva Sheckett
excellent re-mastered films in great condition, provides great, nostalgic European entertainmentPublished 16 months ago by D. Stephen Boyd
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