10 February 2012 | FerdinandVonGalitzien
Conventional Only In Epstein Terms
Many silent film directors evolved during their careers and experimented with different styles, looking for the one that best expressed their artistic vision (Evolution however does not apply to aristocrats whose species have remained the same throughout the centuries).
During Herr Jean Epstein's silent period, this Herr Graf can appreciate three different stages, although there is no vast difference between them in terms of what Herr Epstein was trying to accomplish. Initially his work is permeated by naturalism and conventional film narrative; later his films become more experimental and avant-garde followed by a more realistic and documentary like style.
Accordingly, "La Belle Nivernaise" (1924) belongs to Herr Epstein's early more conventional period, though it is conventional only in Epstein terms, natürlich!, It is a beautiful and lyrical work. It tells the story of Herr Victor ( Herr Maurice Touzé ) an abandoned child who is found wandering in the city by Herr Louveau ( Herr Pierre Hot ), who works as a bargeman. He decides to raise the boy but has a child of his own, Frau Clara ( Frau Blanche Montel ) and a grumpy wife ( Frau Madame Lacroix ). As time passes, both youngsters will fall in love with each other.
The process of the love affair is beautifully filmed, and is depicted in many soulful close-ups and varied elegant techniques that bring the film to a high artistic level. The social realism (life on the barge) is intertwined with echoes of social injustice to add to the drama ( Victor's real father appears and he is separated from Clara ).
La Belle Nivernaise" is a good example of a great director in the making as he develops the technique best suited for what he is trying to convey.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must require a special permit in order to travel by barge on the Rhine to meet one of his rich old heiresses.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com