Posted by: philosopherouge | November 2, 2007

Les Vampires (Feuillade, 1915) Chapters 1 & 2

I figured I might as well keep track of my progress on this one over time, instead of waiting until I finished all 700 minutes to recapulate my thoughts. The episodes vary in length so it’s somewhat difficult for me to decide to sit down and watch one in a limited span of time, as I’m not always sure how much will be needed. It’s my first introduction to serialized films of any sorts, and so far I’m loving it. The use of colour prints is spectacular, and is not done half hazardly like I’ve seen in some silent productions. Already, compared to the only other “feature” length I’ve seen pre-Caligari (The Birth of a Nation, 1915) this is a lot fresher and more fluid. The content is also far more interesting, as it’s a crime/mystery/thriller. The story is rather unpredictable, and one gets a real sense of the fear and mystery surrounding the Vampire gang. I was also surprised by the way media and reporting is portrayed, as it isn’t as much of a far cry from our own existence today, albeit on a much smaller scale. There is even a play being put on about the Vampires, showing just how fascinated the publis is with their mystery. The camera, which is unsurprisingly rather stagnant still manages to evoke a very peculiar visual atmosphere. While there are many medium shots, they are very well staged and always visually interesting. I only hope the rest of the series continues at this pace, because it’s very enjoyable.

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Responses

  1. I’ve seen this three times, and it’s one of my ten favorite films. There’s such a wealth of narrative incident that it’d be overwhelming if you watched it all in one sitting; much better to take it in small doses. I love the deep focus mise en scene, which gives us more freedom where to look, and the fact that there aren’t any close-ups means that the actors have to use their bodies and their gestures to convey emotions.


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