Alfred Machin-1

Le moulin maudit
R: Alfred Machin. D: Pitje Ambreville, Berryer, Mademoiselle Saunières. P: Pathé. Fr / Be 1909
Engl. titles

The 1993 restored version:

“Although it is no longer a popular symbol in the Netherlands, even in the tourist industry, the mill is still an emblematic and referential image. In the years when Alfred Machin was working in Holland andBelgium, he both used and abused this image. So much so, that I like to think of these films as forming a cycle of mill films. Admittedly, Machin films mills extraordinarily well. Often, it is only the base of the mill or the tiny staircase that is visible, together with the sinister shadow of the sails (as in Le moulin maudit). Sometimes he uses a double image: in De molens die juichen en weenen (The Mills in Joy and Sorrow), the little boy is seen playing with a miniature mill in the foreground, with the real mill looming in the background. In Le moulin maudit the image of the windmill is reflected in the waters of the river in which the hero drowns. Then, suddenly, we are shown a mill on fire: in Maudite soit la guerre and in De molens die juichen en weenen, where in a beautiful (and very long) final shot, the burning mill is reflected in the water. On yet another occasion (La fille de Delft, The Girl from Delft), a windmill is struck by lightning. A burning windmill is a fantastic sight, with the wind furiously whipping its flaming sails. There is something agonising and baleful about the turning sails of a windmill, even when they are not on soit fire. The blind fury of the wind is trapped in their teeth, and the air is lashed into a violent struggle between the machine and the forces of nature.”
Eric de Kuyper
Internationale Stummfilmtage Bonn 2020

Le diamant noir
R: Alfred Machin. K: Jacques Bizeuil. Ba: Raoul Morand. D: Albert Dieudonné, Blanche Derval, Fernand Crommelynck. P: Belge-Cinéma Film. Fr / Be 1913
Print: CINEMATEK – Het Koninklijk Belgisch Filmarchief

Alfred Machin (1877 – 1929) was a French director, cameraman, and producer. In 1907 he made his first films for Charles Pathé. A year later, he travelled to the Netherlands to shoot a number of short documentaries, including Comment se fait le fromage de Hollande and Coiffures et types de Hollande. These films were produced by Kinematograaf Pathé Frères, the Dutch subsidiary of Pathé Frères.
After having made a number of films in Africa, Machin returned to the Netherlands in the autumn of 1911. On a commission from the production company Hollandsche Film, he made a few short feature films for the foreign market. His films portrayed the clichéd image of the Netherlands, with traditional clothes, fishermen, windmills, and wooden shoes. In Volendam, he made films including Het vervloekte geld, a fishing drama starring Louis Bouwmeester. A year later, Hollandsche Film produced a second series of short feature films. It is unclear whether these were also directed by Machin (some sources mention Henri Adréani).
In 1913, Machin became the general manager of Belge Cinéma Film, the Belgian subsidiary of Pathé Frères. Before the First World War began, he made films including ‘Het meisje uit de bloemenvelden’ (La fille de Delft) and Maudite soit la guerre. When the war broke out, Machin returned to France, where he served in the Army and shot footage of the battle on the Western Front.
After the war, Machin started a film studio in Nice, as well as a private zoo with exotic animals. These animals appeared in his films. Machin was married to the actress Germaine Lécuyer, who acted in some of the films he made in the Netherlands.”

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