le 3 décembre 2012
Raymond Bernard is little-known among English-speaking cinephiles, but he was an intelligent, talented and influential film maker - as the three films in this package demonstrate. All have optional English translations of the French intertitles and all have fine musical scores as well.
The Raymond Bernard films that I have seen all belong to the genre of "super-production" - very long, very big budgets, epic sweep. both sublime and wretched excess. Bernard's films are visually interesting and always directed so as to evoke strong emotion and to display a certain flare. For English film buffs, Criterion's Eclipse Set 4 contains two extraordinary early sound films by Bernard: WOODEN CROSSES and LES MISERABLES. This box contains the silent productions for which he is best known.
I believe that only one film here, THE CHESS PLAYER (1927), has been released on disc in the English speaking market. (in the Milestone Collection). That print boasts the same visual quality, the same music track, and "original" (English release) titles. Or, put in another way, the print in this Gaumont set is just as good as the Milestone release.
And in addition this (extremely well presented) set includes THE MIRACLE OF THE WOLVES (1924), which Kevin Brownlow introduced to many of us some years ago, and TARAKANOVA (1930) - the director's favourite of his "silent" productions, here in the "sonorised" synch sound version. All three of these films are constructed around visual tropes and complex, shifting figurative imagery, and all are very well-served by the musical scores which were designed for them.
It is a pity that the 35 minute featurette on Bernard's work does not have English subtitles, But in spite of that minor flaw, this is a set that anyone interested in the history or the art of the film ought to have.
le 31 décembre 2013
Il y a une poésie de ces vieilles pellicules. Certaines scènes font penser à de l'art flamand. Cela n'atteind pas les sommets d'Eisenstein ou de Gance, mais c'est une oeuvre à redécouvrir.
J'aurais aimé pouvoir acheté les films séparément, mais bon.
Et puis le silence… par les temps qui courent…