Chaos and Destruction

La lune de miel de Zigoto
R: Jean Durand. D: Lucien Bataille, Berthe Dagmar, Edouard Grisollet, Ernest Bourbon. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1912

Calino courtier en paratonnerres
R: Jean Durand. D: Clément Mégé, Edouard Grisollet, Les Pouittes. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1912

“Durand (…) joined Gaumont in 1910 after a brief stint with Pathé. One of his first assignments at Gaumont was the Calino series, which was begun by director Roméo Bosetti and featured actor Clément Mégé. He soon added the Lucien Bataille-starring Zigoto and Ernest Bourbon-starring Onésime series to his list of directorial duties, and by the end of 1914, he had directed more than 160 films for the studio. The films (…) reveal the director’s penchant for absurdist comedies that regularly devolve into chaos as crazed crowds run rampant through streets, businesses and homes alike, leaving wide swathes of destruction in their wake, as well as a fascination with the American Western. In both types of films, Durand employed a band of physical actors known as ‘Les Pouittes,’ men and women who threw themselves about with reckless abandon, often in the same frame as lions, panthers and other wild animals. Durand’s comedies provided ample opportunity for technical experimentation, including fast-motion and reverse-motion effects (the 1912 Onésime Horloger), double exposure (the 1912 Onésime vs. Onésime) and a remarkable optical effect in Calino chef de gare (also from 1912) that composites a shot of a moving locomotive within a window frame in a studio-bound train-station set.”
Jon D. Witmer
The American Society of Cinematographers

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