Textual Inserts

Een Telegram uit Mexico
R: Louis H. Chrispijn Sen. D: Louis H. Chrispijn, Esther De Boer-van Rijk, Coen Hissink. P: Filmfabriek-Hollandia. NL 1914
Print: EYE Collection, Amsterdam

“When compared to the use of written messages in other contemporary films, it is not only their quantity that is surprising in Een telegram uit Mexico but also the fact that in several cases the various letters or newspaper articles shown as textual inserts are more or less redundant because of intertitles that precede or follow them. They do have an obvious expository function, but hardly contribute to the film’s narrative economy. (…)
However, once the seeming incompetence of the filmmaker is identified as a strategy, it becomes obvious that the focus of the story is not the young colonist, but rather his parents. The film is not about the adventure, but about the wait, about the hope and the despair of those who are longing for news from the loved one overseas. The insistance on the efforts to communicate rather than on the communication itself is functional for the narrative precisely because it appears dysfunctional within the narrative.”
Frank Kessler: Ostranenie, Innovation, and Media History. In: Annie van den Oever (ed.): Ostranenie. The Key Debates, Appropiations and Mutations in European Film Studies. Amsterdam 2010, p. 68.