Jean Grémillon’s Silent Masterwork The Lighthouse Keepers – 35mm Print Imported from Japan! Live Organ Accompaniment by Dennis Scott, July 21

Music Box Theatre – 3733 N. Southport Ave.
General Admission: $11 •  Advance Tickets Here

Saturday, July 21 @ 11:30 AM 
Live Organ Accompaniment by Dennis Scott
THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS (Gardiens de phare)
Directed by Jean Grémillon • 1929
French intertitles with English subtitles
The director Jean Grémillon came to cinema through music; he became intoxicated with the form while accompanying silent films and his sense of rhythm remained intact when he put down the violin and took up the camera. Initially training as a documentary filmmaker and later dabbling in the avant-garde, Gremillon transitioned to narrative features at the very end of the silent era. His second, The Lighthouse Keepers, was shot in a studio, but retains the flavor of Grémillon’s native Brittany, where the story is set. A father (Paul Fromet) tends a remote lighthouse with his son (Geymond Vital), who longs to be reunited with his fiancée (Genica Athanasiou). Unbeknownst to the father, the son was recently bitten by a rabid dog and finds himself slowly going insane and turning violent. Adapted by Jacques Feyder from a one-act play from the infamous Théâtre du Grand-Guignol, The Lighthouse Keepers is notable for its expressionistic distortions and masterful editing, continually finding new ways to represent abnormal psychological realms. The French answer to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Lighthouse Keepers provides an unforgettable climax to the visual invention of the silent era. (KW)
73 min • Société des Films du Grand Guignol • 35mm from National Film Archive of Japan, courtesy of National Film Center, Tokyo
Short: Billie Bletcher in “The Fresh Lobster” (c. 1920s) – 7 min – 16mm

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And coming next week …

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, July 25 @ 7:30 PM
THE LOCKET
Directed by John Brahm • 1946
John Brahm’s neglected follow-up to his Gothic sensations The Lodger and Hangover Square is 200-proof film noir, choked to the brim with baroque deception, a torrent of psychological torment, and a flashback structure that makes Citizen Kane look like a piker. The Locket begins on the wedding day of Nancy Patton (Laraine Day) and John Willis (Gene Raymond), an occasion interrupted by the appearance of Nancy’s ex-husband, Dr. Blair (Brian Aherne), who warns of his former wife’s unstable past. Yet Dr. Blair’s story isn’t even primarily about their own failed marriage, but Nancy’s other previous relationship with bohemian painter Norman Clyde (Robert Mitchum), who noticed a streak of kleptomania that Nancy justifies on the basis of a primal childhood trauma. As the documentarian Errol Morris observes, “Temporal disorder triumphs. Flashbacks within flashbacks within flashbacks. Does the flashback provide an explanation for action or does it avoid an explanation of action? Here each revelation of the past renders the present more opaque.” Luckily, even as the story grows more obscure, the sense of craft is ever present and tightly controlled, with lovely cinematography from Nicholas Musuraca and a surprising turn from Mitchum, rising through the ranks of the studio and still molding his laconic persona in the wake of his first and only Oscar nomination for The Story of G.I. Joe. (KW)
85 min • RKO Radio Pictures • 35mm from Warner Bros., permission Swank
Short: The Twilight Zone: “A Nice Place to Visit” (John Brahm, 1960) – 25 min – 16mm

 

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