The German "Autorenfilm" – 02

The Year 1913
“While historians have difficulties agreeing on periodization, just about everyone concurs that there were two amazing years during the 1910s when filmmaking practice somehow coalesced and produced a burst of creativity: 1913 and 1917. One can point to stylistically significant films made before 1913. Somehow, though, that year seemed to be when filmmakers in several countries simultaneously seized upon what they had already learned of technique and pushed their knowledge to higher levels of expressivity. “Le Gionate del Cinema Muto” (“The Days of Silent Cinema”), the major annual festival, devoted its 1993 event to “The Year 1913.” The program included The Student of Prague (Stellan Rye), Suspense (Phillips Smalley and Lois Weber), Atlantis (August Blom), Raja Harischandra (D. G. Phalke), Juve contre Fantomas (Louis Feuillade), Quo Vadis? (Enrico Guazzoni), Ingeborg Holm (Victor Sjöström), The Mothering Heart (D. W. Griffith), Ma l’amor mio non muore! (Mario Caserini), L’enfant de Paris (Léonce Perret), and Twilight of a Woman’s Soul (Yevgenii Bauer). 1917, by contrast, was primarily an American landmark.”
Kristin Thompson
David Bordwell’s website on cinema

Der Student von Prag
R: Stellan Rye / Paul Wegener. Buch: Hanns Heinz Ewers. K: Guido Seeber. D: Paul Wegener, John Gottowt, Grete Berger, Lyda Salmonowa. P: Deutsche Bioscop GmbH. D 1913
French subtitles

“The division of the frame and the distinction between foreground and background of an image composed in depth becomes the basis of a textual system of repeated and alternated spatial articulations. Two central oppositions, left/right and near/far, are amplified by a third, less powerful term, frontal/diagonal. (…) As a result, the film is ‘about’ Baldwin and his mirror-image occupying the left or the right hand of the frame; is is ‘about’ movements from the background (far-space) to the foreground (near-space) and back; finally, it is ‘about’ Baldwin’s room being framed either frontally or diagonally.”
Leon Hunt: The Student of Prague. In: Thomas Elsaesser with Adam Barker(ed.): Early Cinema: Space, Frame, Narrative. London 1990, p. 390

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