An interesting silent featurette that mixes melodrama with avant-garde techniques to tell a story with only body language and technique. It's very gloomy, opening on an axe murder of a couple, shot in close up with rapid editing, and then the story follows the two daughters of the victims, both of which fall in love with a man, both having different outcomes. The filmmaking is unique, but I found the story bland
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.
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.
An absolutely mesmerizing film that I imagine could be viewed an infinite number of times and feel fresh with each outing. The power of moving image at its finest. Jar editing, superimposition, cinematography, and a bevvy of other techniques far ahead of their time are utilized here. It is anchored by four majorly impactful sequences, two involving deaths and two exhibiting cinema's power to convey compassion.
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.
By far the most exquisite filmmaking I have ever glanced while watching the entirety of the film. Sibirskaia's performace, moody atmospheric setting, Kirsanoff(?)'s amazing direction, I realized that this is a beautiful piece of non-intertitled silent film history during back at the 1920s, among with A Page Out of Order (A critically successful Japanese silent masterpiece made by 衣笠貞之助 with 井上正夫).