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These are the overview pages of the existing files.

Sources on film history from 1920

Texts of the booklets of the student film club of the University of Frankfurt / Main: Filmstudio

Introduction page

Film studio issue 10/11 winter semester 1954/55

Foreword by the Vice Rector>
3 years Film-Studio Frankfurt>
René Clair>
René Clair on the film>
Open letter to a lovable little mouse>
Lectures with film examples>
Film course with exercises>
Film Colloquium>
Film discussion>
Les deux timides (The two shy ones)>
Sous les toits de Paris (Under the roofs of Paris)>
A nous la liberté (Long live freedom)>
Le Silence est d 'or (Silence is gold)>
La beauté du diable (The pact with the devil)>
La vie en rose>
His angel with the two pistols (Paleface)>
L 'Auberge rouge (The Eerie Hostel)>
Julius Caesar>
Sunset Boulevard>
Mother Krausen's trip to happiness>
The stone flower>
Paris plein ciel (Above the roofs of Paris)>
Rêverie de Claude Debussy (Debussy's Daydream)>
On the open stage>
In front of the steps>
Vente en encheres (The auction)>
Pantha rhei>
Reaching for the atom>]

The work of the film studio has received special attention from the university since its inception. The present program for the winter semester 1954/55 is again proof that the work of the film studio represents a valuable contribution to student life and has gained importance in the cultural field of our university, which we wish for the greatest possible support and lasting success is. The events of the film studio complement the curriculum in important areas. I hope and wish that the development of the film studio will continue in this direction and, in the interests of the university, I promise all the support I can give.
Prof. Dr. med., Dr. med. Oscar goose
Vice-Rector of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University

On the threshold of the 1954/55 winter semester, the film studio at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University again deserves the attention and congratulations of all those who are convinced of the possibilities of artistic film. Anyone who, like me, is involved in the development of a neighboring, as yet unexplored branch of journalistic and artistic activity - I mean television - knows the importance of successful filmmaking for modern dramaturgy, which can hardly be overestimated. I therefore think it is particularly encouraging that the young students in particular are taking such thorough interest in studying and enjoying the older, classic creations of film history. I am sure that it will be actively promoted in this by the friendly interests of all who care about the spiritual growth of the generation.
Eberhard Beckmann
Director of the Hessischer Rundfunk

The film is the art form that penetrates deepest into the overall structure of the people. It is therefore all the more important to separate and select from the diversity of what is offered, to sharpen and develop the ability to differentiate between essential and valuable, so that the film is not only a diversion and narcotic, but an experience and inner enrichment like any true educational factor.

The film studio at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University undertakes this task in an exemplary manner. The student body is not only given practical knowledge of the purely technical film, but also the intellectual content, the atmosphere and the respective historical, scientific or psychological moment of the individual productions; Insights into the work of the great directors of all nations are given and the artistic intentions of other peoples are conveyed. Discussion evenings give the students the opportunity to lively exchange ideas.

It is important to me to emphasize the urgent cultural necessity of the film studio, whose protectorate I have taken on with full conviction.
Dr. Karl vom Rath
Head of Culture for the City of Frankfurt am Main

Back to the beginning>

We use this opportunity to report on the work of the film studio, which has now been in existence for 3 years, and to say a few things about the tasks of a student film working group.

With the program presented for the winter semester 1954/55, the film studio has reached the third phase of its development and has reached a high point in its work.

After it was founded on December 17, 1951 by students from all faculties who set themselves the goal of theoretical and practical work on documentary, cultural, feature and scientific film, the focus was initially on organizational and material structure. Practical work began, i. H. with the production of cine films and dealing with the related problems. Occasionally some documentaries and experimental films as well as three feature films were shown.

Thanks to the strong support of the university and the student representatives, the new working group was able to develop rapidly. When the construction of the new student house was nearing completion at the end of 1952, the film studio was used to plan the film and sound facilities. The proposal of the film studio for the installation of the cinema and sound system was accepted and carried out.

With the inauguration of the house in February 1953, it was possible to show films in an orderly manner. Now the film studio was able to start realizing its task of "promoting the students in their studies through suitable films", as the then rector of the university, Prof. Dr. M. Horkheimer, formulated in a letter in which he also came to the conclusion: "The film studio thus gives the opportunity to supplement the curriculum in important areas."

In the second stage of development, from March 1953 the FILMFREUNDEKREIS, founded by the film studio, regularly carried out film screenings, lectures with and without film samples, discussions, working groups and courses. The program is put together by a committee and selected according to the following criteria:
1. Introduction to the history of film;
2. International cinematographic works of art;
3. International experimental films or films in which part of the production or projection represents an attempt or a novelty in development;
4. Films that are suitable for scientific investigations (e.g. film tests) or have scientific problems on the topic, usually at the suggestion of lecturers or institutes;
5. Films that are to be shown as part of special university events (e.g. university festival);
6. Films that, in connection with other films, can show the development of an artistic creative, a director, cameraman, actor, etc.

Until the summer semester of 1954, the film studio was active as an organ of student self-administration. However, it has proven to be advantageous to continue the work as a student association, licensed by the rector, and as a registered association. The actual activity, in particular the objective of the film studio, is not affected by this purely organizational measure.

In accordance with the principles listed above, we have selected 6 films by René Clair and a further 9 feature films and 12 documentary, cultural and experimental films for the winter semester, in which we particularly want to treat the work of director René Clair as a semester topic.

These films, some of which were obtained with great difficulty, are partly (unfortunately) uninteresting for commercial film theater programs - with 2 to 3 exceptions for matinee performances - and partly not playable for legal reasons.

For our members, who mainly belong to the younger generation, knowledge of such means. Films are an important prerequisite for studying the means of creation and the history of film, for judging films in general - such as e.g. B. Knowledge of classical art forms is necessary to understand and criticize modern art.

The main question in the work of the film studio is: What is film? What are the possibilities of film and what are its limits?

At this point it should be said to the public and our members and students: We are not a cinema in the university and do not want to compete with commercial film theaters. Our work and our programs can only be understood and judged as an honest endeavor to accomplish our tasks. The importance of film as a means of influencing the masses and as a carrier of culture obliges students who later come into contact with the most diverse problems of film in their job to deal with film issues - artistic, pedagogical, technical, economic - already and especially during their studies. As long as there are no lectures on film at the university, no opportunities to study film practically and theoretically, this gap will be closed by the working group created on the basis of a student initiative. This form of preoccupation with film in the context of the university can only be provisional and preparatory and can only last until the university can take on these tasks itself.

The student film working groups, which have come together in the Film Working Group at VDS, consider it their task, in cooperation with the lecturers, especially the German Film Studies Society, to create the basis for film studies in Germany, an area in which we are z. B. in America and France is much ahead. Accordingly, the promotion of good films and education for good films are not the only priority in the film studio. Because the aesthetic consideration of films, as it is mainly cultivated in the film clubs, is only part of a real film work. Only in connection with film studies, film technology, film industry and the other specialist areas, film sociology, film psychology, etc. is the foundation laid for a work that has to be done at a university. That is why we focus on systematic work on film, both theoretically and practically.

All students are invited to take an active part in this work. In addition to the general film discussion, we set up a film colloquium in the winter semester, in which a small group of experts should deal intensively and systematically with film issues. Those who want to do practical work can work in our production group or those who do not have enough experience can take part in the film course, which will be held again in the winter semester.

Of course, non-students can also register as an a.o. Involve members in all facilities. We consider the fact that quite a number of non-students from all professional backgrounds are members of the film studio as very beneficial and stimulating for our work. As a result, a fruitful and desirable contact between the university, the student body and the public is established, as has been unprecedented until now. Karl Heinz Reitzlein

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Our extended program booklet takes this into account with the following article, a complete list of his films and excerpts from his literary work.

When the 21-year-old René Chomette (born November 11, 1898 in Paris) was a journalist on the editorial staff of the "Intransigeant" in 1919, he did not even think in the slightest that he would one day become the most famous director in France under the name René Clair . He dreamed of becoming a great novelist who would be courted by all publishers who snatch his books from his hands. But that time still seems a long way off. For now he is sitting in a newspaper office, writing articles and cannot get by on his small salary. While looking for some extra income, the young man discovers the film. The movie of the time is a low level fairground entertainment and has a very bad rap. But if you have a little skill and don't care about the opinion of the "serious people", you have the opportunity to earn a lot of money here.

René Chomette works as an assistant director at Louis Feuillade, who earns enormous money with artistically indisputable monster films. When Feuillade gave his young assistant the opportunity to earn additional money as a performer, he took it immediately. But now his name will appear on the screen, and this is very embarrassing for the budding writer Chomette. He calls himself René Clair, so that nobody should find out later that the "great novelist" worked for the despised Kintopp.

During his work as an assistant director, Clair realizes that the film opens up unimagined possibilities for artistic creation that no one has really exploited. Without hesitation, he gives up acting, journalism and the dream of the great writer and turns completely to film. He is an apprentice to Jacques de Baroncelli, who makes technically excellent and artistically miserable films. In him Clair has found the master who familiarizes him with all the technical means and possibilities of film and gives him a solid technical training.

Clair's first film, "Paris qui there", fails the audience, which is used to massive comedy and does not understand Clair's delicate poetry and subtle humor. The film producers are also hostile to the scripts Clair presents to them. The punch lines of these exposés lie in the optical, and the "literary" -oriented producers cannot do anything with this emphatically unliterary film material.

Clair joins a group of young artists that includes Man Ray and Francis Picabia. They had founded the Dadaist school in Paris and shocked society wherever they could. Clair shot the film "Entr'acte" for a ballet by Picabia, in which, in addition to Ray and Picabia, Marcel Achard, Georges Charensol and Jean Cocteau also star. "Entr'acte" has no coherent plot, strings nonsensical passages together with happy unconcern and generously dispenses with any logic. Charming nonsense! "Entr'acte" unleashes an unbelievable scandal, and only much later does one realize that this little work is one of the greatest cinematic treasures in the world. Although some analysts are still puzzled to interpret these strange associations, "Entr'acte" is recognized as one of the most valuable works in film history. The film journalist Denis Marion wrote in 1950: "Twenty-five years later this film has not aged in the slightest and remains a paragon of cheerful insolence."

With the fairy tale "Paris qui there" and the Dadaist pantomime "Entr'acte" Clair contributes to the cinematic avant-garde in France. Then he tried the field of documentary film, but soon turned away from it, as the sober style of the strictly documentary did not suit him very well.

The culmination of Clair's silent film work is the 1927 film "Le Chapeau de paille d 'Italie", the plot of which Clair relocates to 1875 in order to have a pretext to parody the style of the first films and learn about France's "Age d' Or "to make fun of. But even where Clair lets his irony run free, he never considers his characters with scorn or meanness. His most characteristic trait is his love for the people he creates and the milieu he describes. In "Le Chapeau de paille d 'Italie" he is amused by the curious peculiarities of the people around the turn of the century and makes fun of the salons and things like that stuffed with ornate buffets, false Java vases and kitschy polar bear skins. But his smile is always kind and understanding and his irony without sharpness.

The sound film upsets Clair, who has created completely out of the optical. He finally wants to withdraw from film because he thinks it is impossible to combine the "pure cinema" he has always represented with dialogue. Desperate, he writes: "With regard to the noises and dialogues woven into the action, the ghosts collide. Above all, one can argue about their necessity. The first time they are heard, they surprise and amuse . One is amazed to see how limited the world of noise is. " After a long hesitation, Clair decides to get to grips with the eerie sound film and he shoots "Sous les Toits de Paris". But in talkies too, he puts the emphasis on the image and inserts dialogue very sparingly as a formal element, without giving it priority.

The film is rejected by the audience and the press.Although the people's need for sound films is growing more and more and the miserable films are very popular, "Sous les Toits de Paris" is played in empty halls. Clair is depressed and wants to turn her back on the film in order to be active as a writer. "Sous les Toits de Paris" is performed in Berlin and a storm of enthusiasm rises. The film has an unprecedented success that continues around the world. The name René Clair is well known from Berlin to New York and Tokyo, and the audience is crying out for more films by this brilliant director. The quality of this work is gradually becoming apparent in France as well, and Clair receives orders from all sides.

Now Clair is the most important film maker in France and the producers are starting to fight for him, just as he dreamed of book publishers as a young man. The first sound film was followed by many others, all of which were shaped in the same way by the personality of their director. The films he makes in England and America also show his style, but they are not successful either there or in Clair's homeland. None of these works come close to the films shot in France, in which Clair creates a picture of his hometown with infinite love and empathy. He loves his Paris, and that's where his best ideas come from. With his characteristic style, which has been called "poetic realism", Clair celebrates triumph over triumph. In every film he introduces us to his favorite characters, characters from everyday Parisian life. These people are known and familiar to all viewers, and everyone is firmly convinced that they have met them somewhere and at some point. René Clair discovered Paris for film and created a new world: the transfigured world of the narrow suburban streets, the melancholy chansons and the simple, ordinary people. Film connoisseurs speak of "le monde René Clair", and this term has become an established term in the history of film. Elisabeth Meyer

Films by René Clair
Silent films:
1923 Paris qui there (Sleeping Paris)
1924 Entr'acte (intermediate act)
1924 La fantôme du Moulin Rouge (The Ghost of Moulin Rouge)
1925 Le voyage imaginaire (The imaginary journey)
1926 La Tour (The Tower, documentary)
1926 La proie du vent (The prey of the wind)
1927 Le chapeau de paille d'Italie (The Italian straw hat)
1928 Les deux timides (The two shy ones)
Sound films:
1929 Sous les toits de Paris (Under the Roofs of Paris)
1931 Le Million (The Million)
1931 A nous Ia liberté (Freedom is ours)
1932 Le quatorze Juillet (The fourteenth of July)
1934 Le dernier Milliardaire (The Last Billionaire)
1935 The ghost goes West, England
1936 Brake the News, England
1940 The Flame of New Orleans, USA
1943 I married a Witch, USA
1944 What happened tomorrow, USA
1944 And then there were none (The last weekend), USA
1946 Le silence est d'or (Silence is gold)
1949 La beauté du diable (Pact with the devil)
1952 Les belles de nuit (The beauties of the night)

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You keep forgetting that film is movement, which was once a truism. Today's generation should lead the film back to its beginnings and rid it of all false accessories. It was wrong to consider it an art from the outset. If one had seen an industry in him, that would have been beneficial for art.

If there is a cinematic aesthetic, it was discovered at the same time as the recording device. It only includes one word: movement. Outer movement of appearances and inner movement. This creates a rhythm that everyone has in their mouths and that is so rarely realized. (1924)

In truth, all films that have gone classic come from very distinctive personalities, and the creative ingenuity of Hollywood production dried up the moment it became anonymous collaborative work. (1925)

Relativity is particularly evident in film. Cinematography wanted to materialize life and defy time; but time avenges itself by making it the most fleeting of all phenomena. (1925) Individual parts of a good automobile brand can easily be manufactured in different countries. Not that of a good poem. The film is a car and a poem; he has a body and a soul. (1927)

Anyone who claims that film is displacing theater is misunderstanding the two arts (for lack of a better expression, I say art), and anyone who mentions them in the same breath understands nothing of either. Whatever the stage borrowed from film and vice versa, was detrimental. The speaking film put the crown on the misunderstanding dating back to the first years of silent film.

In the theater, the word guides the action, while the optic has a secondary meaning. In the film, the primacy is assigned to the image and the spoken or sound part takes second place. (1932) The film approaches the theater through its structure, the novel through its inner form. (1947)

I didn't go over to those who saw film as just an instrument for disseminating theater plays. I still consider theater and film to be fundamentally different forms of expression, whereas television and light shows seem to have some affinity to me. Everything that the television set has shown us so far might as well appear on the screen. (1950)

Our judgment schemes for art and literature simply do not apply to film. That is why film criticism is such a delicate matter and at the same time of such eminent importance. (1950)

If I were to be asked what I mean by the term "film sense", which is so often used today, I would say that it is common sense applied to film. Film sense therefore means making use of cinematic means when filming. (1950)

The film apparatus is so over-organized today that it would have to be disorganized in order to function better. (1950)

Film today is mainly an industry. The creation of a "pure" film, comparable to pure music, is so dependent on imponderables that one cannot seriously discuss it. The labeling of foreign films, which force the viewer to read instead of seeing and hearing, is absurd, and Jean Renoir rightly says of the dubbing that its inventor would have been at the stake in the Middle Ages. (1950)

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Open letter to a lovely little mouse

My dear little Jerry! Hollywood, October 15, 1954

It is actually not quite right of me to only use your name alone in the address, when otherwise the whole world calls you both in the same breath. But I should be allowed to make an exception in this; After all, we both belong to the same family, and confidentiality should be allowed.

So, my dear Jerry, it all started when my dad, Walt Disney, said to me one day: Mickey Mouse - he said it was time you met our friends Tom and Jerry for their last Oscar congratulate; the two of them already have 7 of the variety. Sit down right away and write them a nice letter. - O. K., Daddy, I said, put a bubble gum in my left cheek pocket and wanted to start. - Dear Tom and dear Jerry - I wanted to write, but it just wouldn't flow out of my pen. Everything in me was reluctant to put this name on paper, because I can't stand the disgusting hangover from Chicago for dying.

How you can hold out with this beast for so long is incomprehensible to me. It is just as incomprehensible to me that the whole audience is delighted with all the tortures that bad Tom does to you. Your head will be turned until your neck looks like a corkscrew, or you will be compressed like a concertina bellows, and everything breaks out into roaring laughter when you are turned into Irish stew. Either the movie fans are totally crazy or we are just too seriously serious to find this nonsense still fun. If I am to be completely honest, however, then I have to admit that I was also thievingly happy, but only when it was Tom's turn. Damned, was that a joke the other day when you came with the big steamroller and our dear Tom was as flat as a pancake afterwards.

Our aunt Hedda Hopper always says that we really don't exist and that we are something like rattle stork and Santa Claus. And then she said, you are just the phantasms of a quirky gentleman named Fred Quimby, who has the right to call himself the father of Tom and Jerry. But that's so silly; how can you both have the same father, that's really shocking - a tomcat and a mouse - ugh! It's just as stupid as if people were to say - Mickey Mouse isn't even alive, it's just dead lines and drawings on a huge tape. By the way, these are the same people who always say that the stars in the sky don't glitter and sparkle, but that it was just an optical illusion '. Well, let's leave people with their strange beliefs!

It wasn't long ago that I was in the studio with Mr. Stokowski and together with him I did the sorcerer's apprentice, a fantastic comic strip based on Goethe. We got into a conversation and he told me that you had managed to appear as Gene Kelly's dance partner in a wonderful film. And now I hear you two are supposed to be part of an underwater film together with Esther Williams. That is really the greatest thing that can happen to us; And then someone should come and say that we would not exist in reality, but only awakened to an apparent life for a few minutes with the help of a subtle trick of illusion.

You sure have a hard time figuring out one fun after the other. When I think about the fact that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer demands 25 big laughs from you in every story, then you really are not to be envied. A good friend of mine, a certain Charlie Chaplin - we've known each other for almost 30 years now - once said to me: - Mickey, remember that, it is much harder to make our audience laugh than it is to cry. - And after all, he must know, because he could do both at the same time.

I used to always ask myself what the point of all this nonsense that we are tapping into. To date, I haven't found a reasonable answer to that. Sometimes I really didn't feel like it anymore and just wanted to quit. But then I was told that we were all stars, you and Tom and I, and had long been world famous, and there was no question of quitting. Just imagine, Jerry, you a little mouse, you are a world famous star. And one crazy man even said we were immortal. But I don't believe that after all; that is whispered with a sly.

But one thing is really true: we actually fell victim to the scientists' obsession with collecting. Our stories are all neatly stored in a big box with a label on it that says "animated cartoons." If only I knew what that means. Hopefully it's not a dirty word. You never really know that with the brothers. The word "star", for example, no longer has the same sound as it used to. Well, it doesn't matter. By the way, more than 50 pieces of Tom and Jerry's pranks have already been collected.

But now I have to close, because Daddy wants to introduce me to a really great thing today. People call it CinemaScope. It's supposed to be a whole new world, twice as wide as the old one. If I'm to be completely honest, I'm a little scared of it. But then I think very quickly of you, my Jerry, how you bravely overcome all fights with the bad cat, and then slowly I get courage again.

Oh yes, I almost forgot the most important thing. So my best congratulations on your 7th "Oscar", which you really deserve. Hopefully you will fill the dozen in my lifetime.

Good bye, my little one, and think a little
Your Mickey Mouse!

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with film examples

December 10, 54 Prof. Dr. Gottfried Hausmann, Mainz: "The man and theCultural techniques "

7. 1. 55 Fritz Kempe, Hamburg: "Design means of the film"

14.1.55 Dr. Hannes Schmidt, Offenbach a. M .: "René's life's workClair "

21. 1. 55 Pastor Werner Hess, Frankfurt a. M .: "Endangered the filmour culture? "

4. 2. 55 Dr. Lotte H. Eisner-Escoffier, Paris: "The French filmbefore the second world war "

11.2.55 N.N. "Film and Sociology"

25. 2. 55 Detlof Karsten, Munich: "Film in the life of youth"

March 11, 55 Panel discussion, chaired by Detlof Karsten: "Film review andPublic taste "

The lecture series is organized by the film studio and the State Image Office of Hesse.

The lectures take place on the specified dates on Fridays, 8 p.m., in the ballroom of the student house.

Our speakers:

Prof. Dr. Gottfried Hausmann, born 1906, is a.o. Professor of pedagogy at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, member of the state school advisory board for Hesse, since 1950 head of the school radio department, since 1953 head of the education and training department at Hessischer Rundfunk.

Fritz Kempe is the director of the State Image Office Hamburg, permanent employee of the magazine "Film, Bild, Ton" with the section "Feature film criticism for young people", editor of the book "The film in youth and adult education" and head of the event series "What one from film must know ".

Detlof Karsten is youth film advisor at the Institute for Film and Image, Munich, youth film advisor at the Association of German Film Clubs. Employee at the television of the NWDR Hamburg.

Pastor Werner Hess is the film commissioner of the Protestant Church in Germany, chairman of the film committee in the chamber for journalistic work of the EKiD and a member of the voluntary self-regulation of the film industry.

Dr. phil. Hannes Schmidt is president of the working group of German film journalists, member of the film self-control, co-editor of the magazine "filmforum", editor-in-chief of the "Filmwoche", member of the committees convened by the Foreign Office for the selection of German films at international festivals, co-founder and longstanding chairman of the Essen Film Club.

Dr. Lotte H. Eisner-Escoffier was born in Berlin and has worked as a journalist since 1926. Lotte H. Eisner has lived in Paris since 1933 as a correspondent for several important specialist journals, and since 1945 as Conservatrice at the Cinémathèque Française. She wrote a basic work "L 'Ecran Démoniaque", Edit. André Bonne, Paris, which will soon be published in German by the German Institute for Film Studies, Wiesbaden.

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The film course will extend over 2 semesters. Through lectures and practical exercises, participants are introduced to the problems of film.

1. The film as a contrast to theater and image. Movie and TV.
2. Composition of the film image.
3. The optical as a carrier for script, music and presentation.
4. Camera technology. The objective. Exercise: handling the camera.
5. Footage, exposure, lighting. Exercise: use of light meters, experiments with artificial light.
6. Image analysis and additions. Exercise: as in 5.
7. Script drafting. Exercise: directing.
8. The pick-up rod in the movie. Exercise: shooting a short film.
9. Movie tricks. Exercise: Film Trick Practice I.
10. Overall composition of the film. Exercise: Film Trick Practice II.
11. Film history. Exercise: film editing.

Course leader: Günter Schölzel.
Time: Mondays 6 p.m. c. t. Exercise: 7 p.m. c. t.
Start: November 15, 1954. Location: Student house, room 13 (ground floor). Course fee: 3 DM.
Only a limited group of participants can be admitted. Prior knowledge in the field of photography is required. Registration in the office.

In a smaller group, selected film questions are systematically worked out, some of them after films have been shown.
Head: Ivar Rabeneck.
Time: Wednesdays 8.30 p.m. Start: November 3, 1954. Location: Student House, Room 106.
Limited number of participants. Registration in the office.

Following the showing of certain films, a general discussion will be held, for which we will, if possible, attract discussion leaders from film circles.
Time: Thursdays 6.15 p.m. as announced. Location: lower cafeteria of the student house.
Please note the event schedule.

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Directed by René Clair (1924)
Screenplay: Francis Picabia
Camera: Jimmy Berliet
Actor: Jean Borlin; Georges Charansol; Georges Auric; Marcel Achard; Eric Satie; Man Ray; Francis Picabia; Marcel Duchamp; Jean Cocteau; the dancer Friis and the ballet Suédois under Rolf Maré
Entr'acte combines the partly burlesque, partly cynical elements of Dadaism with comedic wit, dance-like movement and rhythmic montage.The result is a partly exhilarating, partly shocking, but always original pantomime that cannot exist anywhere but on celluloid and therefore fully corresponds to the avant-garde ideal of "cinema pur": "You are mine, dear optical illusion, and this new-born world is mine whose pleasing appearances I interpret according to my mood "(René Clair).

Les deux timides (The two shy ones)
Director: René Clair;
Production: Albatros-Sequana (1928)
Screenplay: René Clair based on the play by Eugène Labiche and Marc Michel
Camera: R. Batton and N. Roudakoff
Buildings: Lazare Meerson
Actor: Pierre Batcheff; Jim Gérald; Maurice de Feraudy; Véra Flory; Yvette Andreyor; Françoise Rosay; Madeleine Guitty; Pré fils; Stacquet; Paul Ollivier

After his first attempts at film, René Clair tested his skills on outspoken vaudeville fabrics. The first film of this kind was "Le chapeau de paille d 'Italie" (The Italian Straw Hat), based on a comedy by Eugène Labiche. The success was so great that the same material was later released as a sound film in Germany ("Der Florentiner Hut" with Heinz Rühmann) and more recently in France with Fernandel.
In 1928 René Clair shot his second vaudeville comedy, also based on a play by Eugène Labiche: "Les deux timides." Here as there, the same problem had to be solved: namely, to translate a play that thrives on witty dialogue into a silent film comedy. In order to translate these dialogues into the visual language of the film, René Clair had to invent completely new situations that did not exist in the original. Based on the American film comedians who were extremely popular at the time, he staged "Les deux timides" in the style of an American film grotesque. In this way, he created a completely new work that is more than just a mere film adaptation of a play, as the sound film era later gave us by the hundreds.
"Les deux timides" was René Clair's last silent film; It wasn't until a year later that we met him again while working on his first sound film "Sous les toits de Paris". Ivar Rabeneck

Sous les toits de Paris (Under the roofs of Paris)
Director: René Clair
Production: Tobis (1929)
Script: René Clair
Actor: Albert Préjean; Pola Illery; Gaston Modot
A few films that can claim the status of a work of art already existed in the first days of moving photography. But only in France was a unique, unmistakable film style not only created but also maintained. The oldest French sound film looks as fresh as on the day of its premiere, at the end of the twenties.
Master René Clair will enchant and inspire the young generation just as much as his old audience, for whom the undemanding unsentimental Apache story in pictures became a festival of reunion. Only now does it become apparent what pioneering work has gone into this film. What amazed and moved us youngsters from back then is now clearly evident: the artistic devices that established a tradition.
Above all, there is photography, discreet and delicate at the same time, the play of chiaroscuro, the pliable camera that glides over roofs and looks into windows and lingers on a coquettish girl's face as long and tenderly as it does on objects that come to life. Subjective impression is combined with objective accuracy, graceful humor and tragic-comedy of the situation with the ever threatening backgrounds of existence. The social is not preached, but is incidental. The camera never lies, the social contrasts are never played out propagandistically. They are just there and we see people, not types
During a house search, the plump detective's boot steps on the delicate slipper of the girl who visited her lover the night before. What expressiveness in a tiny gesture! Not a scene that is cliché - or would have become routine in the later repetition. French film has remained true to itself where it has retained these artistic elements and carried them on to the point of ultimate virtuosity.
What is remarkably beneficial about this first major sound film made by the French is that it deliberately derives its essential effects from the optical. The word is used sparingly, only suggestive, not clarifying. One did not fall prey to the mistake of the stage dialogue that was later so common elsewhere. The background noise is also only audible in the dramatic climaxes, but then all the more haunting. Often copied later and rarely reached: the sound of the "Banlieu" train rolling past at night. The honking of the approaching police cars, the whistles of the policemen who interrupt the knife duel between the two rivals. Rabid details of the fight are blurred in the darkness. (Mr. Rank would not have missed the opportunity to expose glaring glare!)
But the best part: the convincingly real atmosphere. You can only find that in Paris: sensitive underworlds - and curiously charming petty bourgeoisie. Every French person has an individuality - even in the film studio. Albert Préjean is and remains the unforgettable street singer of this wonderful - one might almost say - unforgettable film. But what happened to the Illery who played the inimitable little Parisian girl Pola? Arnold Bauer, "Neue Zeitung", Berlin

A nous la liberté (Long live freedom)
Director: René Clair
Production: Films Sonores Tobis (1932)
Script: René Clair
Camera: Georges Périnal
Music: Georges Auric
Actors: Henri Marchand; Raymond Cordy; Rolla France; Paul Ollivier
Two friends, little Emile and big Louis, are in prison. One day they try to escape together, but only partially succeed: while Louis escapes, Emile is seized by the guards. After his escape, Louis begins a new life under an assumed name. In a few years he succeeded in rising from a little street musician to the all-powerful owner of a huge gramophone factory, which he built based on the model of forced labor in prison.
Emile has now served his sentence and works in Louis' factory. When some former fellow prisoners discover the director's secret one day and he is threatened with arrest, he and his friend Emile, after giving the now fully automated factory to the workers, try to escape through life as a vagabond to pull.
The style of the action defies a clear conceptual definition; it can be called a high-spirited parody, a tragicomic burlesque, a modern fairy tale or an ironic problem play.
The guiding principle of the direction is movement - rhythmic movement, dance movement. René Clair has managed to merge the optical and acoustic rhythm into a perfect unit: the people move according to the music, and even when Emile saws the bars, this happens in time with the song: "A nous la liberté".
The image is also dominated almost entirely by the movement. Occasionally, however, the director resorts to the almost still image and thereby achieves a stronger emotional or rational effect: this applies to the few landscape shots and to numerous large-scale shots in which Clair proves to be a master at directing the little things. A branch of flowers, a hand, a photo, a flower, a pair of glasses can stand large on the canvas for seconds and acquire dramatic functions or symbolic meaning. The film is characterized by a beneficial frugality in the use of technical means. In contrast to the lively action in the picture, the camera is almost always limited to slow, almost linear movements that can be followed by the eyes. Only a few pictures are taken from the height of the object; The predominant shots are from above and below. This use of the camera always allows reality to appear from an unfamiliar perspective and thereby reinforces that peculiarly romantic mood that lies over the whole plot.
The lighting almost always ensures a friendly, summery, radiant brightness - in the world of the two vagabonds, the sun is always smiling - and thus contributes significantly to the cheerful, lively atmosphere of the film.
The film shows throughout the striving for the utmost economy in the use of the spoken word. The dialogue was largely replaced by sharply defined, "speaking" facial expressions by the actors, while the acoustic demands of the audience are met by an illustrative, impressionistic "sound painting". Georges Auric's music combines lyrical expressiveness and exhilaration, natural grace and cultivated charm. Within the film, it fulfills a threefold function: it provides the rhythm for the dance-pantomime movement and for the montage, it promotes and carries that delightfully light, spring-like atmosphere of the action, and finally it fulfills important dramaturgical functions through its leitmotif. Heinz J. Furian and Rolf Stein in: "Cineáste"

Le Silence est d 'or (Silence is gold) 1
Director: René Clair
Production: Pathé-RKO (1947)
Script: René Clair
Actors: Maurice Chevalier; Francois Perier; M. Derrien
This first film, which René Clair shot in France after his return from the USA, is to a certain extent a declaration of love by the great director for the silent epoch of film.
"Silence is gold", that is an unmistakable commitment to an art form that is always greatest when the far too often used dialogue is replaced by pure visual play. The joke of the film is that René Clair does not surround this time of the silent film with an aureole, but that he shows us this time of the blessed cinema in all its Talmi glory. In these primitive studios, which are anything but a temple of the Muses, every serious attempt at a real work of art must immediately turn into the ridiculous.
In spite of everything, however, this cinema atmosphere, which reminds us so much of the "Schmiere", seems more amiable than the gigantic operation of a modern dream factory. René Clair proves to us that in its early years film was probably a craft - and a highly ridiculous one at that - but that this craft, in which he himself is a master, is as high as the technology of a modern film studio that works with the precision of a machine is superior. The plot of the film is basically very conventional. But that is also unimportant. It is much more important that the choice of the place and the time in which this action takes place succeeds in shedding those things that are usually attached to a film made in a dream factory: namely polishing and finishing.
Silence is gold, not just the silence of the silent movie era, but also the silence and silence of a city at night. It is not the noisy Paris from "Le quatorze Juillet" that René Clair sings about, but rather the tranquility of "Paris qui there" and the eloquent silence of all lovers "Sous les toits de Paris" that make up the poetic content of this film which, despite all the parody, still remains light and graceful. Ivar Rabeneck

La beauté du diable (The pact with the devil)
Director: René Clair
Production: Universalia-Franco London Film (1949)
Script and dialogues: René Clair and Armand Salacrou
Buildings: Léon Barsacg
Camera: Michel Kelber
Music: Roman Vlad
Actor: Michel Simon; Gérard Philipe; Nicole Besnard; Simone Valère; Carlo Ninchi; Raymond Cordy; Paola Stoppa; Gaston Modot
For over four hundred years the legend of Doctor Faust's life has played an important role in Western art. In the most varied of arrangements, as a folk book, puppet show, drama, pictorial work, symphony, opera and novel, the power of its timeless similitude was shown. After F. W. Murnau, it was René Clair who took on the cinematic design of the material. R.
"That 'Faust' was from Goethe is a prejudice. From Goethe there is only one of the many fists of the West: the most valid and greatest, of course. But the shadow he casts repeatedly hid the long series of before and after - and side fists, among which there are at least weighty specimens: by Marlowe, von Lessing, von Lenau, von Grabbe, von Heine, von Wedekind and Valéry, most recently from Thomas Mann and, as far as the film is concerned, von Murnau it is René Clair, who is filming Faustian again; and that his film Faust, which has nothing to do with Goethe, is therefore not a real Faust at all - as I said, that is a prejudice.
With Goethe there was, at a higher level, after the guilty earth journey of the first part and the purifying journey of souls and heaven of the second part, the metaphysical happy ending: _... we can redeem him. ' With Clair, Faust is also redeemed, but by no means on a metaphysical level, but with the help of earthly love, the all-powerful, which is stronger than death and the devil and has always been the most effective ending in film wisdom. Faust with a happy ending: the French film is not to blame for this - but the fact that its happy ending is so insufficiently and unclearly motivated. The love between this Faust and this Gretchen doesn't seem so powerful that it could touch heaven and hell. A Faustian flirt.
Before that, before the visually glamorous but materially confused final caper, the 'Pact with the Devil' is a beautiful and powerful film. It does not have quite the nuanced lightness of earlier Clair films, but it is also free of the clumsy, pretentious profundity and the theatrical-romantic pathos into which the Faust film Murnaus sometimes fell. Clair's work sparkles with irony, shows some stylistic inconsistencies, but also some wonderfully successful passages: the scenes from the magical gold factory, for example, or the allusion to atomic fission and technical Satanism, which is primarily (in Faust) optimism believing in progress and then immediately (in Mephistus Hands) becomes destructive and nihilistic are episodes of subtle esprit.
Magnificent actors _... Michel Simon, the Mephisto: voluminous, funny, ingenious comedy. Gérard Philipe, half prince charming, half bohemian, almost too young, too charming and pleasing for the searching-tempted Faust, is strongest at the beginning, after the body swap, when he takes up Simon's staggering style of movement almost parodistically and slowly transforms it into his own, springy tense liveliness.
Of Goethe-Faust's two souls, alas, of Faustian division and German polarity, there is little to be found here: this is a Latin, a very French Faust, in which the gloomy also has its charm and the ambivalent its balance. Heaven and hell stay well-tempered on both sides. The substance's magic, its hierophantic image of earth, under- and over-world, escapes. It will be cozy. But there were basically cozy times in which this film is set - back when the devil, who confuses and seduces people, still clearly stank of sulfur and everyone recognized him straight away. " Gunter Groll in "The Magic of Films"
Georges Sadoul writes in "L 'Ecran Francais":
"The cheerful, grotesque treatment of the subject would have been easier than the one that tries to interpret the drama of modern man in it. For René Clair and his colleague Armand Salacrou, Mephisto is not invincible as fate. Faust can conquer him and go up in fire and smoke by countering resignation with a powerful 'no' and, above all, by receiving the help of the indignant people. René Clair's exceptional merit is to have shown the borderline in 'La beauté du diable' which exists between progress and science. "

La vie en rose
Director: Jean Faurez
Production: Raoul Plaquin (1947)
Screenplay: René Wheeler; Henry Jeanson
Camera: Louis Page
Music: Georges van Parys
Actors: Louis Salou; François Périer; Colette Richard; Simone Valère
Prize of the Locarno Festival in 1948
for the best script
for the best character actor (Salou).
This film is a psychologically extremely charming tragicomedy of typically French pomp, which is based on the cinematic very grateful idea of ​​having a plot unfold twice from two different points of view. Her "hero" is the excellent actor Louis Salou (who died in 1948), who is known to friends of French film mainly from the "Children of Olympus".
Here he is a knight of the sad figure, a professor in a boarding school, who at the beginning of the plot is surprised by his colleague Périer in a suicide attempt. From the diary that Périer falls into his hands, the ideal image of the unfortunate develops. In his imagination he sees himself as Don Juan, the rooster in the basket with all the pretty girls and adored by students and the principal, whose beautiful little daughter writes charming love letters for him. - Reality surprises us in the second part.
"The nuanced portrayal of the professor by Louis Salou is a comedic masterpiece.Without any charge, he succeeds in embodying ideal and reality. Francois Périer's temperament knows no bounds when it comes to characterizing the daredevil. A film sparkled with fine irony for lovers of French delicacies, whose sense of subtle dialogues and original plot constructions is great enough not to let an unsympathetic hero impair their judgment. " W. Talmon-Gros in: "studio"
The director:
Jean Faurez is without a doubt the young director who has shown the most consistent qualities: of the five films he has made since 1946, "La vie en rose" is certainly the most captivating because it is based on a truly original script by René Wheeler . But "Contre-Enquête" and "La Fille aux yeux gris" were characterized by a pronounced sense of correct dosage of the effects; the smile of the "Vire-Vent" transfigured, was weighed down by a drama that one could not believe in and that stifled the work. On the other hand, the "Histoires extraordinaires" according to Poe, although unequal in their interest, had real merits and sought, in their best passages, the dramatic expression through means that were free from the conventions of the genre. Jean-Pierre Barrot, Artistic Director of the French Association of Film Clubs

His angel with the two pistols (Paleface)
Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Production: Paramount (1948)
Actors: Bob Hope; Jane Russel; R. Armstrong; I. Adrian
Color: Technicolor
While the serious Wild West film still has unrestricted validity, there are more and more films that exploit the Wild West as a grateful area for parodies. Here is one of the most successful and naturally carefree of this genre.
The story of a dentist who treats his rough patients with nitrous oxide to scare away their pain, and his defensive wife, who develops from a gunslinger with a dark past life to a loving wife, is so comical that the whole film how laughing gas must work. And when, through no fault of his own, Bob Hope gains the reputation of an invincible hero and willingly continues this role with flattered vanity, there is even something like a small character study in addition to the abundance of the most cocky gags. All of this bathed in strong colors results in a feature film of exuberant serenity. KFD

L 'Auberge rouge (The creepy hostel)
Director: Claude Autant-Lara
Production: Memnon (1953)
Script: Jean Aurenche; Pierre Bost; Claude Autant-Lara
Camera: André Bac
Music: René Cloerec
Actor: Fernandel; Françoise Rosay; Carette; Marie-Claire Olivia
L'auberge rouge is a farce. The action is initiated by a morality sung by Yves Montand:
"_... Chretiens, venez tous écouter une complainte véritable. C 'est de trois misérables inhumains, leurs crimes sont épouvantables, il y a de cela cent vingt ans ils assassinaient les passants _..."
1833. A hostel on the Ardèche plateau. A stagecoach arrives, soon after a monk with his novice. But where did these good people find their accommodation? The landlord, his wife, their daughter Mathilde and the dark house servant conscientiously kill all travelers - a profitable business. However, the landlady has "religion": no priests are killed with her. In a confession she confesses her sins to the monk. As a confidante, but bound by the secret of confession, the father ponders all night long about how he could save his fellow travelers.
"The film consists of very complex and even contradictory elements, which are, however, fused into a stylistic unit. The following elements must be distinguished:
The elements of the farce (the prayer between monk and novice); the elements of satire (the wedding);
poetic elements (the love between Mathilde and the novice); gruesome humor (the corpse in the snowman).
The farce is the creative element chosen by Autant-Lara, which allows that double game: on the one hand to make all viewers laugh through more or less frivolous situations and jokes and on the other hand to utter certain truths in a comic way that are not in a different tone to be endured.
For the director, "L 'auberge rouge" is a very idiosyncratic satire. By his own admission, he did not want to make an anti-Christian film; however, he does not deny that he has shown a certain anticlericalism. However, this anti-clericalism is accompanied by a criticism of the stupidity and bourgeois malice of the travelers, a criticism of the marriage with the sermon in the wedding scene and a criticism of the army with the very telling close-up of the monkey between the two gendarmes.
A progressive development can be observed in the director's work since his film "Douce" ("Irrwege der Herzen", 1943), which first begins with a criticism of society - bourgeois honesty - and then leads to a criticism of traditional institutions. He denounces every state of old age to which even the noblest values ​​have fallen through civil convention. Pharisaic philistinism in all its forms is the enemy that Autant-Lara tracks down and pursues from film to film. After his "Douce" he created: "Le diable au Corps" ("Devil in the Body", 1946), "Occupe-toi d 'Amélie" (1949), "Le bon dieu sans confession" (1952), "Le blé en herbe "(" Awakening Hearts ", 1954)." Paule Sengissen in "Tele-Cine", Paris

Julius Caesar
Production: Avon Production (1952)
Book: The stage work of William Shakespeare
Music: John Becker
Cast: Harold Tasker (Caesar); Robert Holt (Octavius); Charlton Heston (Mark Antony); David Bradley (Brutus); Grosvenor Glenn (Cassius); Helen Ross (Calpurnia); Mary Darr (Portia)
First performance: November 24, 1952 at the Bareonet Theater, New York.
This film is exceptional by American standards in some ways. It is the first film by a talented young director who was his own producer and made a full-length feature film, which won him a directorial assignment from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film is shot in 16 mm and with a minimum of material expenditure. It cost less than $ 15,000, which is ridiculously low by American standards, and never required more than seventy actors even for the largest mass scenes. The actors were almost exclusively students from Northwestern University, who stood up for their cause with youthful enthusiasm and total dedication.
What makes this debut film such an unusual film that it received lively discussion in the New York press? It is the uncompromisingness with which its producer tried to translate the poetic model into a cinematic language, the "language cinematographique", without being unfaithful to the original. Indeed, it is a seldom "cinematic" film that expresses a content through means unique to the camera. One of these means is indirect statement. What the poet utters is translated into an image, the symbolic content of which makes what is said through language visible. Bradley concentrated detailed descriptions of Shakespeare into a single picture, summarized entire scenes in a short series of pictures. For example, the wordy vision of Caesar's wife Calpurnia, who foresees the imminent death of the emperor, is designed like an engraved image: a rain-soaked pavement shown in close-up lights up in the light of a bolt of lightning. Immediately afterwards we see a marble bust of Caesar, from whose forehead blood trickles, and in an instant change we see the pavement again, between the cracks of which a stream of watered-down blood seeps away. This concentration in the pictorial symbol continues through the entire film: a series of columns in the "Soldier's Field" in Chicago (where the film was shot) represents the Colosseum, the staircase to the "Rosenwald Museum" became the Roman Forum. Flickering torches and fire symbolize the uprising, clashing signs indicate two clashing battle lines, instead of an army camp we only see a section of the general tent.
Bradley proves to be a master of suggestion. He succeeds in making processes of action perceptible through the facial expressions of things. Alternating between close-ups and long shots and the continual shifting of perspectives, especially bird and frog perspectives, he is a pupil of Eisenstein. A distinctive feature of Bradley's style is the use of close-ups of faces against an entirely dark background; He thereby achieves new possibilities of character drawing and at the same time dispenses with all unnecessary ballast of costumes and props. The scenic effort is kept to a minimum, but through the artfully thought out application of the means available to him, Bradley succeeds in creating the highest degree of effect. With only seventy extras, he is able to create more gripping crowd scenes than the million-dollar films made in Hollywood. His film is completely based on the picture and works with meticulous lighting effects, the sound is extremely economical and only used where it is absolutely necessary.
On the other hand, the language of Shakespeare is retained; this shows the influence of Laurence Olivier (whose silent inner monologue Bradley took over). Incidentally, the actors' non-professionalism makes itself felt negatively in the use of language, and some things are still too declamatory. On the other hand, the landscape is shimmering as a further supporting element in the event. Bradley, for example, lets the Battle of Philippi take place in a dune landscape (shot in the sand dunes of Chicago), in whose desolate wasteland crippled bushes and trees look like creatures from an antediluvian world. (Here we sometimes feel reminded of Orson Welles' "Macbeth".) But despite various reminiscences of earlier Shakespeare films, this work is a complete achievement of its own. With his "Julius Caesar" David Bradley not only gave a new possibility of a cinematic Interpretation of Shakespeare - his film shows that the presence of initiative, imagination and the will to form is more important than large financial resources. "The New Zurich Times"

Twilight Boulevard (Sunset Boulevard)
Directed by Billy Wilder
Production: Paramount (1950)
Screenplay: Charles Brackett; Billy Wilder; D. M. Marshman Jr.
Camera: John F. Seitz
Music: Franz Waxmann
Starring: Gloria Swanson; William Holden; Erich von Stroheim; Nancy Olson; Cecile B. DeMille; Hedda Hopper; Buster Keaton; H. B. Warner
In the villa of the once celebrated actress Norma Desmond (Los Angeles, Sunset Boulevard, lot number 10 086) the newsreel cameras are buzzing, the photo reporters flash, the curious and sensationalists gawk. The formerly famous silent film star strides down the wide stairs in a regal pose, dressed and made up like in a film studio. Illuminated by the spotlights and admired by those standing around, Norma Desmond enjoys her great scene to the full, in which the old glamor of the former Hollywood lights up for her one last time. In reality, however, everyone knows that this woman is insane, that the homicide squad is waiting in front of the house to arrest Norma Desmond for the murder of her lover, and that her self-confidence about being the focus of a new film again is only conceited.
Erich v. Stroheim and William Holden in the paramount film "Sunset Boulevard". With this horrific final picture, Billy Wilder ends his film "Sunset Boulevard", which is one of the most merciless unmasking of the murderous Hollywood film business. The old star from the silent movie era is no longer needed and is therefore carelessly pushed aside. Nobody cares about the further fate of this woman, whose only purpose in life was and always will be the film. Her life has become meaningless when she is no longer allowed to practice her artistic activity, and so she takes refuge in a world of illusions and madness.
Billy Wilder now undertakes to depict this world in a film. A highly macabre world in which only self-deception and the unrestrained greed for fame rule. He tries to show how the aging star clings to every hope, even the smallest, that promises to bring the coveted "come back".
The plot begins with a ragged, unknown screenwriter entering this world. Norma Desmond, who has all hope of new fame in this young writer, forces him to write a script that will finally bring her the longed-for film role. On this thread, Billy Wilder hangs up all the scenes that are intended to reveal both the good and the bad sides of a person who is obsessed in every respect.
With this revelation, however, the Hollywood business, which has become virtuoso, but soulless, is exposed at the same time. It shows a woman who knows no measure and no limits in her love as in her hate. Her great acting skills (a brilliant Chaplin parody) are portrayed as meticulously as her perverse inclination towards a gorilla.
But these revelations only serve Billy Wilder's socially critical intention, as we already know from his other films ("The Lost Weekend", "Reporter of Satan"). The fate of the actress Norma Desmond becomes a parable for that hypertrophied Hollywood in which genius and madness are so close together.
With this socially critical intention, the screenwriter and director Billy Wilder is supported by the excellent acting of his actors. The camera works according to the revealing character of the film. It sneaks in the truest sense of the word (symbolic of the creeping paralysis that runs through the entire film) and reveals the magic and nimbus of a pathological star cult by slowly panning or through the close-up. Not to forget the buildings and furnishings that have to transpose the world of a madwoman into the visible.
All in all a film of relentless realism and grotesque morbidity, which nevertheless manages to convincingly portray the most incredible things through its great artistic design. Ivar Rabeneck

Director: Wolfgang Staudte
Production: DEFA (1949)
Camera: K.H. Deickert
Actor: P. Esser; I. basket; B. Krause
The film describes the fate of an apolitical worker who, after unemployment in 1929, became a printer for the Völkischer Beobachter, but later ended up in a concentration camp because of his participation in an underground movement. The plot ends after the war. The film wants to settle accounts with National Socialism and shows that even politically uninterested people cannot pass by the events of their environment without dealing with them.
Individual tendentious generalities do not diminish the value of this artistically fascinating film of above-average level. The director Wolfgang Staudte has found recognition especially abroad for the idiosyncratic, artistic design of his post-war films. R.
His previous films are:
"I dreamed of you" (1943); "The Murderers Are Among Us" (1946); "The strange adventures of Fridolin B." (1948); "Rotation" (1949); "Second Hand Fate" (1949); "The Subject" (1951); "The Little Muck" (1953); "Strandgut" (1954).

Mother Krausen's journey to happiness
Director: Phil Jutzi
Screenplay: Based on stories by Heinrich Zille, edited for the film by Dr. Dröll and J. Fethke in association with the Prometheus collective
Camera: Phil Jutzi
Actor: Alexandra Schmidt; Holmes carpenter; Ilse Trautschold; Ernst Bienert
Two actions are mixed here: The one story of mother Krause, seen in unbelievably real naturalism, who lives with her two adult children Erna and Paul in a kitchen-cum-living room in Berlin's Wedding and is overwhelmed by the hardships of everyday life and worries about her children. And the other, more optimistic story, centered around Erna and the young, class-conscious worker Max. Max was friends with Erna until he found out about her relationship with the tenant at Krausens. He withdraws, but lets a colleague convince him that his behavior is bourgeois and petty-bourgeois and now returns to Erna.
"The film, in which tendencies of literary naturalism of the prewar period mix with ideas of class struggle, is more in the tradition of Russian than that of German film; the example of Pudovkin in particular becomes clear in more than one take. But Jutzi almost completely dispenses with it on making ideas visible through optical associations - montages or fades - instead, he lets the viewer jump into reality directly (without translation). You can feel the hot breath of reality - poverty, misery, despair, but also love, joie de vivre, social optimism - as was the case with Rossellini much later. "
"The problem of what is happening can no longer appear topical today, the social solutions will be viewed with skepticism - and yet you don't see the film as a historical document, but experience it fresh and immediate. This is thanks to the design. The film begins initially with some photographic playfulness in the style of Ruttmann's 'Berlin Symphony of a Big City', but then the movements of the camera become factual and reporting and always relate to the object To convey the complete illusion of reality to the audience. "
"In addition to the camera, which also maintains its succinct reporting style in the game scenes, the selection of the actors, whose faces are never beautiful, but always characteristic, and their fresh and unaffected play, which is only forced where gestures and Facial expressions that have to replace verbal statements. The décor and costume are not artistically arranged either, but rather bear the stamp of documentary authenticity. " filmforum

Director: Fritz Lang
Production: Ufa (1926)
Screenplay: Thea von Harbou based on the novel by Thea von Harbou
Camera: Karl Freund; Günther Rittau
Music: G. Huppertz
Actor: Heinrich George; Brigitte Helm; Gustav Fröhlich; Rudolf Klein-Rogge; Theodor Loos; Fritz Rasp; Alfred Abel
This large-scale film (equipment film with a market value of 5 to 6 million gold marks), a cinematic utopia with an oppressive effect, modernizes the biblical parable of the Tower of Babel and creates an imaginary world of gigantic machines. The creation of the artificial man, the devastating flooding of an underground city and the revolt of the working masses are the dramatic highlights of this film, the director of which, as in the "Nibelungen", used a specifically architectural and painterly style.
"_... this kind of expressionist staging was particularly suitable for the mass of slaves in" Metropolis ", for those impersonal figures with drooping shoulders in timeless robes who are used to bowing their heads and surrendering to their fate. Lang Perhaps had a premonition of the future when he gave this mass its monotonous and steady movement, this funeral march that seems to accompany the walk to the slaughterhouse. These gloomy inhabitants of an underground world are even more automatons than the robot of the false Maria; they are adapted to the rhythm of complicated machines, and their arms become the spokes of a huge wheel. The body, with other shapes to a triangle or a semicircle, becomes increasingly part of the architecture itself _... Through the geometric stylization, 'This last trace of Expressionist aesthetics, however, Lang never allowed himself to be forced into a mechanical routine Mass remains full of life even in the architectural grouping and becomes integral elements of the plot _... " Lotte H. Eisner-Escoffier in: La Revue du Cinema, Paris 1947
The director of the film, Fritz Lang, is one of the most important German silent film directors. In Germany he made the following films until 1933: "Halbblut", "Der Herr der Liebe", "Die Spinnen", "Harakiri" (1919); "The Wandering Image" (1920); "Vier um die Frau" (1921); "The tired death", "Dr. Mabuse, the gambler" (1922); "The Nibelungs" (1923/24); "Metropolis" (1926); "Spies" (1927); "Woman in the Moon" (1928); "M" (1932); "The Testament of Dr. Mabuse" (1933).
After the film "Liliom" by Franz Molnar, which he shot in France in 1933, Lang went to America, where he has made a large number of films to this day, which, however, do not exceed the average. R.

The stone flower
Director: A. Ptuschko
Production: Mosfilm (1946)
Screenplay: P. Bashow and I. Keller
Camera: F. Provorov
Buildings: H. Uger
Music: L. Schwarz
Actor: Tamara Makarowa; W. Drushnikow; E. Derewschikowa; A. Kelberer
1st prize for the best color film at the Cannes International Film Festival in 1947.
In a framework, the film depicts the Russian folk tale of the stone flower that is supposed to bloom in the realm of the legendary ruler of the Copper Mountain. Whoever sees this flower reveals the most hidden secret of art, but he must never return to the people, but must remain forever as a master with the queen of the mountain.
For the young hero of the film, Danilo, the wish for the stone flower comes true. The power of love and loyalty to his bride give him a second victory: the owner of the copper mountain gives him freedom again, and he returns to the people.
Color has been used in a revolutionary way in this film. How often has we been disturbed by the unnatural chromaticity of color in color films from the real world, for which the state of development of color film technology is to blame. The director of the film, A. Ptuschko, deliberately decided not to "imitate" nature in color. Rather, he uses color as a means of free artistic design. From the non-naturalistic character of the colors, he conjures up an exaggeration of reality in which the wonderful can flourish. In a difficult recording process, Ptuschko made use of his many years of experience and inventiveness in this area of ​​combined animation film recording technology. Some scenes required z. B. twelve or more shots for a film strip. Drawing, model, nature, decorations and actors had to be copied together. But the careful and precise way of working makes this extremely complicated process completely invisible to the viewer. For him the film alone is of great artistic and ethical gain. R.
After the premiere in 1948, a Berlin film critic wrote:
"Caucasian fairy-tale fabrics were composed so splendidly (with a slight hint of socialist tendency), such as was previously only seen in a few scenes of Rank's" Red Shoes ". It was a single song about the beauty of nature. Colorful buds unfolded, lizards and salamanders let the rays of the sun play on their brightly colored bodies. In rocks and caves, opened by fairy hands, gemstones, crystals sparkled, broke ghostly white light into the color variations of the rainbow. Here the film had become what we always ask of it : Lichtspiel - and what didn’t exist yet: a harmonious play of colors. With the exception of one scene, an all too rustic wedding ball, the color seemed a matter of course; the childhood disease of color films (the rust-red tones) was overcome. "

Paris plein ciel (Above the roofs of Paris)
Director: J.-P. Alphen
Production: Films Alphen
Music: J. Wiener
Commentary: C.-J. Odie
A true symphony of skylights and round windows, roofs made of zinc or slate, wood or brick transports us into a poetic, unusual world. We see the terraces of luxurious residential areas and tiny window sills on which the little man lovingly tends a few potties with flowers; the sloping cap of centuries-old houses; we see the noble cathedral, the glass roofs of the artists' studios, the dilapidated attic of the poor devils, the diverse, polyphonic poetry of a city that has no equal in the world: Paris.
Jean Wiener’s music, now tender, now tingling, excellently accompanies this very distinctive, very successful film.

Rêverie de Claude Debussy (Dreaming of Debussy)
En bateau
(in the boat)
Directed by Jean Mitry
Production: Argos Films (1951)
The films attempt to assign plastic and rhythmic natural processes contrapuntally to pieces of music by Claude Debussy: "Mouvements", "Cloches à travers les Feuilles", Rêverie "and" Clair de Lune "; in the second film" En bateau ".
Jean Mitry, who ties in with the avant-garde tradition with his work, starts from concrete visual impressions - trees, leaves, rivers - and then tries to give a new shape of light, line and plastic shape with abstract structures such as shadows, waves, light reflections which corresponds to the music of Debussy. R.

On the open stage
The face of a residence

Direction and production: Bernhard Dörries and Stefan Meuschel (Munich 1953/54)
Camera: Stefan Meuchel
Music: Hanno König
In the spring of 1953, two film-obsessed students shot two films in the ruins of the Munich Residenz and the Hoftheater with the aim of reviving the dead rock, that is, to portray it as if it were playing itself Ruins, gets lost and is surprised by a thunderstorm. Dörries and Meuschel try to shape the child's experiences and make them visible.
Despite numerous difficulties and chronic shortages of money as well as the technical inadequacies, the students finished these films. From the script to the editing, they did everything on their own. Hanno König is responsible for the extremely modern musical compositions.

"On the basis of minimal play, far away from any exaggerated avant-gardism as shown in earlier student films, excellently photographed, partly lyrical, partly dramatic atmospheric images unfold, which contrast the sad beauty of the Residenz and the Residenztheater with the vivid memory of the undestroyed glory of yesterday and seek to connect _... "Süddeutsche Zeitung

Before the steps
Image: Frans Haacken
Word: Franc Rovelle
Music: Boris Blacher
Following the example of the French film "Guernica", an attempt was made some time ago in Berlin to fuse the visual arts, music and poetry into a single unit through the medium of film. A woodcut by Frans Haacken served as a template, which aims to depict both the horror and the grace that await us on the path between death and the Last Judgment. Franc Rovelle's verses are also woodcut-like, and - by the way, they are excellently spoken - closely follow the picture and are very memorable. This results in a strong intensification of the visual experience, to which Boris Blacher's music now appears as a third element. The camera and the editing succeed in merging these three elements into one unit, so that one can rightly say that this attempt, which was made for the first time in Germany, was successful. Three artists work together - each with their own means - to create a completely new work of art that is more than the sum of verse, image, film and music.

Vente en encheres (The auction)
Directed by Jean Mouselle
Production: Cady-Films (1947)
The film received the Great International Cultural Film Award at the Venice Biennale in 1948.
On a Sunday afternoon, the late Elise Grandet's fortune is being auctioned off in a small provincial town. The sensitively guided camera captures an atmosphere of dreamy memories - youth, first love, abandonment of a young girl - which is inspired by a Balzacian touch of the French provincial lifestyle.
The structure of the film is very good: six objects covered with the dust of old memories - cradle, music box, bicycle, piano, group of clothes, grandfather clock - show the life of the deceased once again in self-contained processes. R.

Pantha rhei
Director: Bert Haanstra
Music: Max Vredenburg
The film is a perfect example of pure feature pages, almost a small film poetry. Like the "Spiegel von Holland", by the same director, this film is characterized by its excellent composition. Clouds and waves, raindrops, ice crystals, grasses, willows, leaves flow, float, run across the canvas, form into fantastic structures and then dissolve, merge and repel, a masterfully conceived composition. R.

Reaching for the atom
Director: Erich Menzel (1949)
Production: Institute for Scientific Films, Erlangen
The thought of the atomic bomb evokes fear, horror and occasionally even panic today. These effects can be reduced and people's security of life can be strengthened if the composition, the formation and the mode of action of the atomic forces are understood by each individual. This film should be a contribution to that. B.
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