Dir: Marcel L'Herbier

France, 100m



An ethereal creature from a dream like only L'Herbier knew how to make at the time, painted with light and shadow. Elegant with motions, like a calligrapher’s hand drawing from the beauty of enlightened heart. The man was one of the first visual masters of the medium.

Yet a visual prowess, and this is what’s so important for me, that understands the double perspective that gives shape and size to life around us, with the ability to restore it back in its proper dimensions. There, from outside the cabaret stage, the woman performing on stage for an indifferent world of organized cruelties, itself operating from behind the norm of social appearances. Here behind the stage, more pertinently for us, closer, the distraught mother tending to her sick child. Seeking absolutions, prostrating herself.

From our end we get to reconcile both, how the woman funnels profound sadness into public performance.

There is a painter involved, looking to capture evanescent beauty. At first it flees from him in the maze of Islamic architecture, but soon he finds it. As it turns out, love dawns on him from painting.

Eventually she has to let go a part of her heart to be mended again, and return to the mixed blessing of that stage where suffering can be sublimated into dance.

It is a small film but precious. It’s recommended you seek it out.


Watch on leimafia.tumblr.com

L'Herbier French Silent Film L'Argent (1928)


Ivan Mosjoukine stars as Mathias Pascal in THE LATE MATHIAS PASCAL (1926). Mathias, an eccentric dreamer, is trapped in the undertakings of daily life as he suffers his days in a loveless marriage, a dead end job and tyrannized by his ungrateful mother-in-law. Grief-stricken by the death of his mother and infant daughter, Mathias flees to Monte Carlo, where a run of luck at roulette wins him a fortune. After his death is falsely reported, Mathias leaps at the chance of a second and adventurous life in Rome. Both tragedy and comedy, The Late Mathias Pascal explores the struggles and possibilities of a man in search of happiness in Marcel L’Herbier’s most celebrated film.

Check out the deluxe Blu-ray edition of The Late Mathias Pascal here.

When filming L'INHUMAINE (1924), director Marcel L’Herbier endeavored to assemble an artistic team of visual and plastic vanguards. Who better then to provide sculptures for this cutting-edge production than avant-garde artist and pioneer of modern sculpture, Joseph Csaky. Born in Hungary in the late 1800s, Csaky became a naturalized French citizen in 1922. He is best known for being one of the first sculptors in Paris to apply the principles of pictorial Cubism to his art.

Csaky’s sculptures, so sought over by Marcel L’Herbier in 1924, continue to be in high demand nearly 100 years later. At a recent Sotheby’s auction, Csaky’s ‘Femme Accroupie,’ sold for $469,139, well over the pre-auction estimate of $69,502 – 83,402.

See pictures of Joseph Csaky’s sculpture on the L'INHUMAINE set on Flicker Alley’s blog, THE ARCHIVES.