Capellani 1906

L’Âge du coeur
R: Albert Capellani. B: André Heuzé. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1906

Drame passionnel
R: Albert Capellani. B: André Heuzé. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1906

 

La femme du lutteur
R: Albert Capellani. B: André Heuzé. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1906

La loi du pardon
R: Albert Capellani. B: André Heuzé. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1906

Pauvre mère
R: Albert Capellani. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1906

“In contrast to Pathé’s previous films (…) Pauvre mère uses the spectacle of a POV (i.e. point of view)-shot sequence (observed by a female rather than by a male) as the pretext or narrative premise for an unrelenting series of moments of frustrated desire. (…) In privileging the relationship between mother and daughter and the emotional appeal of their shared desire, for instance, both La loi du pardon and Pauvre mère seem to address a specifically female spectator. This suggests that, by 1906, women – as well as children – were beginning to constitute an increasingly important segment of those who regularly attended cinema programs in France. (…) Yet, as a textual system, both films address the spectator somewhat ambiguously at the end. Is the concluding tableau of  Pauvre mère, for instance, to be read, within a conservative Catholic tradition, as a legitimate religious ‘reward’ for the mother’s suffering or, rather, as an implicit appeal for social measures to redress the near-poverty conditions of the single workling-class woman? In  La loi du pardon, is the wife or mother to be read as a kind of sanctified Mary Magdalene, a figure of innocence represented from her daughter’s point of view, or a woman who has literally taken a vow of chastity? And what about the husband-father’s attitude, for only he and not the judge can fulfill the real ‘law of pardon’ – has the family actually been restored? The answer might have depended on where and in what context one saw the film.”
Richard Abel: The Ciné Goes to Town. French Cinema 1896-1914. Berkeley-Los Angeles-London 1998, p. 135 f.

“Capellani’s speciality as a director is the broad scope of his narratives, connecting different locations and characters, which invests even short films with grandeur and space, to such an extent that the film lengths, given in either metres or minutes, often seem unbelievable. What? Can L’Épouvante really only be 11 minutes long? And Pauvre mère and Mortelle Idylle only 6 minutes each?”
Mariann Lewinsky, David Bordwell’s Observations on Film Art