A couple is brutally murdered in the working-class district of Paris. Later on, the narrative follows the lives of their two daughters, both in love with a Parisian thug and leading them to separate ways.
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If ever there was a master who understood the essence of cinema. Apart from Brakhage, I don't think there has been a more important filmmaker in terms of what cinema was, before and after them. This piece is much more focused on emotions, gestures, and feelings, as opposed to the wonderful natural worlds shot in Backward, and Mists, but he still maintains such panache. Modern day film should take note of this visual.
Talk about an opening scene that just attacks you right in the first minute, a brilliant start that captures your attention immediately. A very brave film, experimenting with the narritive structure, camera placement and movement (traces of the soviet montage can be seen), it creates this ethereal quality that is both beautiful and creepy at the same time. I loved it and will surely check out more films by Kirsanoff.
In terms of technical filmmaking and editing, this is the best I have seen in all of 1920s. It's incredible stuff and when you see it for the first time you will be left marveling at how far ahead of its time it is stylistically.
This great early work deserves a more thoughtfully chosen still. The image up there is a poor representation of the events in the film. I will do my damnedest to get the Mubi team to replace the screaming mug with Nadia Sibirskaia's beautiful face.
One of my very favorite films. A haunting and powerful example of silent cinema and how to tell a story completely without words. Kirsanoff eschews intertitles for a completely visual and wholly enthralling tale of family tragedy. A masterpiece in every sense of the word.
The most beautiful works of art are sometimes simple, and Ménilmontant is one of those where the story plays second fiddle to the way narrative is presented. The visceral opening scene, Sibirskaïa's gorgeous face and toned down acting (the bread scene), amazing editing... Sex scene that is only hinted at by using double exposure of thighs and fast traffic. Literally the most creepily ethereal thing I have seen.