Monday 22 May 2023

On Blu-ray - David Hare welcomes "no more important or more beautiful film" - SANS LENDEMAIN (Max Ophuls, France, 1939)

Screens from Kino Lorber's new Blu Ray of Ophuls' 1939 Sans Lendemain, now with subs, and a terrific, exhaustive commentary by Adrian Martin.

The screens below are so constantly in part or full shadow from the great DP Eugen Schufftan of Edwige Feuillere and Georges Rigaud, the last shot (still below) a frame from the 1926 silent Casanova. starring Ivan Mosjoukine, directed by Alexandre Volkoff .

The leads watch that movie in the last of two substantial flashbacks which "narrate" their earlier life, although the life Babs/Eveline/Edwige (below) is depicting in the present (1939) indeed a second life is again a fabrication that leads to tragedy.

One of the greatest Ophuls pictures, now finally in a retail Anglophone edition. Adrian's commentary is a rare pleasure in these days of video essays and non commentary-tracked editions.
Georges Rigaud

Adrian covers a number of views of Ophuls and this movie in particular from Tag Gallagher and Robin Wood. The movie can certainly be read, as can Lola Montes and La Signora di Tutti as a picture in which show business itself is a means of representing life, in which impersonation, power, and submission are seemingly dovetailed within a fatalistic, late Romantic era, and emotionalism. The difference with Ophuls' treatment of this material is through his mise-en-scene in which form and style are constantly undercutting and amplifying both narrative and emotion, in a direction which is inextricably linked to time, and the fatality, as Tag often puts it, of romantic passion and its power to destroy (Letter from an Unknown Woman).

This Kino Lorber disc feels almost like a throwaway in this current year of Blu-ray deluges from Warner Archive and even Kino Lorber itself. But no more important or more beautiful film will get a disc release this year.

Editor's Note: Sans Lendemain screened on the opening evening of the very first Cinema Reborn way back in 2018. David Hare wrote the program notes and introduced the film at that first screening. You can read his program notes IF YOU CLICK HERE 

A collection of David's earlier pieces published on the Film Alert 101 blog is available to read or download IF YOU CLICK HERE

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