Alice Guy and the French Pioneers. Treasures from Svenska Filminstitutet / Filmarkivet. Screened at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (History of the Cinema), 27 Oct 2014.
All made in France, all in 35 mm. Piano: Joonas Raninen. Total duration: 95 min
Alice Guy / ten of her films included in the collection Sieurins franska bilder, total 392 m /18 fps/ 19 min * colour
AA: All toned beautifully in sepia except the last one multi-coloured, hand-coloured. All in plan-séquence, all in long take and long shot. A beautiful la belle époque compilation.
1 Entrée et sortie de la mine (1899). - AA: Non-fiction. Miners about to enter the mine.
2 Paris: Exposition universelle – Panorama de la Seine (1900). - AA: Non-fiction, city view. A phantom boat ride panoramic take.
3 L'Hiver: Danse de la neige (Cabaretnummer, Alice Guy, 1900). - AA: Non-fiction, a recorded performance of a snow dance, complete with theatre snow flakes.
4 Au cabaret (1899). - AA: Fiction. "Vins, liqueurs". An outdoor table of the bar. Card players share drinks and engage in a fight.
5 Paris: Exposition universelle (1900). - AA: Non-fiction, city view. A 360° panoramic shot.
6 Chez le maréchal-ferrand (En hovslagare, Alice Guy, 1900). - AA: Non-fiction. A pleasant composition. In the foreground, a horse is being shoed. In the background, a horse-shoe is being forged against the anvil.
7 Avenue de l'Opéra (Framför Operan i Paris, Alice Guy, 1900). - AA: Non-fiction, a city view with a twist: the film is being played backwards. (Or was it just our projection?)
8 La bonne absinthe (Den härliga absinten, Alice Guy, 1899). - AA: Fiction, comedy. An absent-minded customer at the outdoor table of a café, immersed in his reading, drinks from the wrong glass.
9 L'Aveugle fin de siècle (En stackars blind man, Alice Guy, 1898). - AA: Fiction, comedy. The blind beggar has a good eyesight, but the policeman exposes him. The scoundrel plays a trick to an innocent passer-by happening to sit on his bench, framing him to be the fake blind beggar.
10 Panorama circulaire sur le pont d'Iéna (1900). - AA: Non-fiction, city view. A long panoramic shot over the Seine.
11 Chapellerie et charcuterie mécaniques (Hattfabrik, Alice Guy, 1900). - AA: Fiction, comedy, trick film. The miracle machine can produce both hats and sausages.
12 La Fée au choux, ou la naissance des enfants (Blomkålsfest, Alice Guy, 1896). - AA: Fiction, féerie. A motherly fairy in the garden produces babies from cabbages.
13 Pédiluve (1899). - AA: Non-fiction. Horses' feet are bathed.
14 La Concierge (Ett upttåg, Alice Guy, 1900). - AA: Fiction, comedy. The stern female concierge is harassed by mischievous children. When she revenges, the target is an innocent man.
15 Chez le photographe (Hos fotografen, Alice Guy, 1900). - AA: Fiction, comedy. The impossible customer with his mad ways of posing at the photographer's. *
16 Expo 1900: le vieux Paris (1900). - AA: Fiction, city view. Another phantom boat ride.
17 Charge à la baïonette d'un régiment de ligne (1899). - AA: Non-fiction, a record of military manoeuvres. The infantry charges straight towards us, and they come real close.
18 Dans les mines: Entrée des bennes dans la mine (1899). - AA: Non-fiction, the circle closing from the first film of this show. The miners emerge from the mine. There is a change of shift.
19 Danse serpentine (1900). - AA: Non-fiction, a record of a dance performance. A fine sample of the popular subgenre of the serpentine dance. In splendid colour.
Les Frères Lumière: Scènes de la vie * acquired by SFI from La Cinémathèque française (1965) – total 125 m /18 fps/ 6 min * [no titles]
1 L'Arroseur arrosé (1895)
2 Le Repas de Bébé (1895)
3 La Sortie des usines (1895)
4 Partie d'écarté (1895)
5 Débarquement des congressistes à Neuville-sur-Saône (1895). - AA: They greet us.
6 Barque sortant du port (1895). - AA: The might of the sea. Quite good visual quality.
7 Arrivée d'un train à La Ciotat (1895). - AA: Quite good visual quality.
8 Démolition d'un mur (1896). - AA: Another view of working men, now not in their Sunday best. Ok visual quality.
AA: Non-fiction. A delightful compilation of some of the most legendary films ever made. A duped quality and slightly low contrast especially in the first five. Never mind. These are among the primal images of the cinema.
Le Coucher de la mariée (Joly-Normandin, 1896) 36 m /16 fps/ 2 min * hand-coloured * [no titles].
AA: Fiction, comedy, erotic. Last year I wrote about the Pordenone Joly-Normandin screening with two prints of Le Coucher de la mariée. This time I was thinking about the complete - and completely innocent - strip-tease of Gypsy Rose Lee in Stage Door Canteen. Here Louise Willy takes everything off - while re-dressing into a nightgown.
Le Chaudron infernal (1903) 38 m /18 fps/ 2 min * acquired by SFI from: Les amis de Georges Méliès (1976) * hand-coloured. - AA: A fragment.
Le Voyage à travers l'impossible (1904) 370 m /18 fps/ 18 min * acquired by SFI from: Prague (1958) * hand-coloured * [French intertitles]
La Fée carabosse (1906) 234 m /18 fps/ 11 min * acquired by SFI from: Prague (1959) * hand-coloured
Les quatre cents farces du Diable (1906) 317 m /18 fps/ 15 min * acquired by SFI from: La Cinémathèque française (1966) * b&w
Le Locataire diabolique (1910) 143 m /18 fps/ 7 min * acquired by SFI from: Les amis de Georges Méliès (1976) * hand-coloured
AA: Fiction, féeries. Another set of legendary films, now from the master of magic, the first film artist, Georges Méliès. These prints are dupes of original hand-coloured prints except Les quatre cents farces du Diable which is in black and white. There is as a rule one bright red climax, an explosion or something similar, in the films.
Le Spectre rouge (Segundo de Chomón, 1907) 180 m /18 fps/ 9 min * hand-coloured.
AA: Fiction, féerie. In this film Segundo de Chomón still clearly imitates Méliès. The Devil, introduced as a living skeleton, inflicts a wild and crazy series of metamorphoses: will-o'-the-wisps, levitations, conflagrations, shrinking, disappearing, switching, apparitions, thunderstorms. But finally the gentle fairy overcomes the Devil.
Le Serment d'un prince / Prins De Lacerda (Max Linder, 1910) 104 m /16 fps/ 6 min * Desmet colour * [French intertitles]
Restored by SFI in 2008.
AA: Fiction, drama. The poor girlfriend of the wealthy prince gives birth to their baby out of wedlock. Max and the girl are thrown out of the house by the callous parents of Max. "Pour gagner sa vie": Max starts as a clown in utterly humble circumstances. Three years later: "une grande vedette de music hall". His muscles are prominent in a dangerous act. The parents appear, there is a reunion, and a happy end. - It is interesting to see Max Linder in a non-comic role. The main theme is dignity: Max does not abandon his sweetheart. Instead, he abandons his own safe world.