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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

L'Inhumaine (1924)

Set on the outskirts of Paris, an internationally famous singer (Georgette Leblanc) is fond of hosting intimate dinner parties where she invites distinguished gentlemen who fall under her spell. But she toys with their affections and feelings and remains aloof until the suicide of one of her admirers (Jaque Catelain) causes a scandal. Directed by Marcel L'Herbier, this experimental film is all about the visuals since its loopy storyline makes no sense, not really. And it's the audacious visuals that carry the film and the raison d'etre for the film's place in the canon of silent cinema. The film's original reception was decidedly mixed drawing both outrage (reputedly there were verbal fights in the audience and people demanded their money back) and praise. L'Herbier does seem to have fallen in love with his own images and often one can't help think, "Okay, got it. Let's move on now!". But there's no denying the power of the Art Deco and Cubist imagery and in that sense, I think it ranks right up there with Lang's METROPOLIS. If you're interested in what is termed avant-garde cinema, this is a must see. If you're not, this might prove tough going. With Philippe Heriat and Fred Kellerman.

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