L’ Amour Fou

Les deux sœurs
R: Albert Capellani. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1907
Print: CNC
Engl. subtitles

Les deux sœurs tells a very different story of mésalliance between social classes. This film focusses on two sisters, and their sick mother who live together in a garret room (described in the opening LS), where the young women (whose white-colored costumes contrast with the mother’s black dress) (…) do ‘put-out’ work as seemstresses. (…) In a final tableau, preceded by an intertitle translated as ‘The return to duty’, the two sisters resume their work as seemstresses in the same garett room where the film began. Now that any explicit male presence has been erased, however, the newly reaffirmed bond between sisters is determined by their shared relationship to the dead mother. Both are dressed in black – as if replicating the mother’s figure – and her chair is conspicuously empty in the room’s background. In the end, a double absence or erasure seems to ‘lock’ them into the woman’s part of suffering victim. However, although social mobility through illicit means seems roundly condemned as dangerous in Les deux sœurs, it is less certain whether the sisters’ final position should be read as a punishment for disobedience, as a working-class ‘fate’ to be endured, or, perhaps less likely, as a sign of social injustice.”
Richard Abel: The Ciné Goes to Town: French Cinema, 1896-1914. Updated and Expanded Edition. University of California Press 1998, p. 154/155

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Amour d’esclave
R: Albert Capellani.  D: Gabriel Moreau, Darenne Bennard. P: Pathé. Fr 1907
Print: Filmmuseum Netherlands
Dutch titles

“Very good stencil technique for 1907. Some shots involved bright costumes against dark backgrounds, which conceal the mismatch of color and representation. Nice moment at around 7:00 when female dancers reveal their multi-color veils, suddenly creating an abstract, striped, pinwheel shape.”
Yuri Tsivian