In 1916 Anton Giulio Bragaglia directed three full-length (that is, over one hour’s duration) films produced by the commercial film company Novissima Film; Thaïs, Il Perfido Incanto (The Wicked Enchantment) and Il Mio Cadavere (My Corpse) as well as a comic ‘short’ (less than an hour’s duration) called Dramma in Olimpo (Drama in Olympus). The sets for Thaïs and Il Perfido Incanto were designed by Enrico Prampolini. All three of the full-length films used professional actors although the ballet dancer Lleana Leonidoff, who featured in Il Perfido Incanto, and the Russian actress Thaïs Galitzky, who featured in both Thaïs and Il Perfido Incanto, were not professional actresses. Augusto Bandini played the male lead in Thaïs.
Thaïs, the first of Bragaglia’s films, is possibly the only surviving full-length Futurist film with a copy allegedly preserved (although, alas, all but unseen) in the Cinémathèque Francaise. It was 1446 metres long, running for about 70 minutes and, according to Bragaglia’s daughter, was an ironic love story with a tragic ending. It included surreal and abstract imagery “Geometric shapes were formed and dissolved by movement, steam rose from walls and mist disrupted perspective. The Mouth of Truth breathed out clouds of smoke. There were the shortest of captions, fragments of Baudelaire. Black and white alternated with dark blue or fiery orange toning”. Thaïs has been described as curious rather than successful, but it preceded French and German experiments of the same kind. –greylodge.org