A closeup, with affection

21 March 2011

From Dimitri Kirsanoff’s Ménilmontant (1925), a silent film told entirely with images — it doesn’t have the intertitles that most possess. It’s remarkable — and only 40-something minutes long. You can watch the entire thing on YouTube:


3 Responses to “A closeup, with affection”

  1. Hattie Says:

    How do you find these things??? Thanks so much!!!

    • Didion Says:

      I’m tempted to say something ridiculous like, “It’s my job, ma’am,” except I have this other job (for which I really should be grading papers). Or I could confess that I’ve got drafts and drafts of not-yet digested stuff or great movie stills that entrance me. All of this is to admit, I suppose, that my love of movies has overwhelmed my love for the article I’m madly trying to finish, and any single post seems to draw me into a dozen additional digressions of gazing at movie stills and marveling over great dialogue…it’s the most endlessly pleasurable diversion I can imagine besides writing about it all on a blog!

      Plus it’s a welcome distraction from the horrors in Wisconsin, Japan, Colombia, Libya, D.C., California, Australia, Mexico City….

  2. jmmnewaov2 Says:

    Sorry, this was a bit too primitive in technique for me. But 80 some-odd years ago, they did the best they could, or knew how to do.

    I could only watch the first reel. I wondered if you noticed in the first reel – that despite opening with a murder, the camera didn’t move even once.

    It wasn’t until 3:06 that the camera first turned, sort of moving off to the northwest corner of the frame from the smokestack.

    Later in the Parisian street scenes and from the train we had camera movements, but it wasn’t until nearly the end of the first reel that camera moved with people in the image.

    Nevertheless, movies remain fascinating for me just as you mentioned in your reply how much of a welcome distraction they were for you.


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