Amour et science
B: M.J. Hoche (comedy). D: Émile Dehelly, Renée Sylvaire. P: Société Française des Films Éclair. Fr 1912
“This comedy from 1912 is a science fiction variant on a modern urban myth called ‘the reluctant bridegroom’ in which the bride-to-be is photographed in a compromising situation. In fact, variations go back much earlier and it appears in Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’.”
“Éclair’s Amour et science (1912) (…) stages a love affair temporarily put on hold by the fiancé’s efforts to invent a television-like telephone. Impatient with his dedication to work only, his girlfriend plays a prank (creating a fictional rival) over the visual phone, which has a traumatic effect on him. The young man’s mental bearing, however, is eventually restored via a complex routine involving a replay of the call. This is secured by way of filming it, but with a revelation that effects a happy resolution, dispersing his love doubts and temporal mental affliction.”
in: Richard Abel (ed): Encyclopedia of Early Cinema. Taylor & Francis 2005, p. 151/52
“The possibility that film might possess a more than simply documentary function also surfaced in claims (…) for the therateupic properties of the moving image. Such claims were voiced by numerous practitioners, and they also figure in the plot of several early feature films. In D.W. Griffith’s A Drunkard’s Reformation (1909), a film inspired by the mental hygiene movement founded by Clifford Beers, the drunkard is cured, according to an intertitle, by seeing ‘his own shortcomings mirrored in a stage play’. The drama-within-the drama became a common trope of films in mental hygiene.
The potential therapeutic properties of the medium were (…) thematized in a handful of early French feature films among them Amour et science (1912), which depicts a madman who is restored to himself by a screening of a film that documents the events that precipitated his psychological breakdown. Similarly, the film Le mystère des roches de Kador (1912) includes a remarkable scene in which a young woman afflicted with hysteria is cured via a film screening.”
in: Greg Eghigian (ed.): The Routledge History of Madness and Mental Health. Taylor & Francis 2017, p. 182