Capellani’s “L’Arlésienne”

L’Arlésienne
R: Albert Capellani. B: Albert Capellani, Alphonse Daudet (novel). D: Jean-Marie de l’Isle, Jeanne Grumbach, Henri Desfontaines, Paul Capellani, Mademoiselle Bouquet, Mademoiselle Bertyl, Henry Krauss. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1908
Engl. subtitles

“In his own films, Capellani brought the ‘Pathé’ style to its highest level, directing adaptions from the classics of popular literature. Among the earliest were L’Arlésienne (1908), adapted from Alphonse Daudet’s novel, and L’Assommoire (1909), adapted from Emile Zola, which, at 740 meters, could be considered the first feature film in French cinema. His later multiple-reel films were characterized by a strong sense of verisimilitude, an unusual skill in deploying a variety of editing techniques, and a particular adeptness of staging in depth, which often involved deftly choreography characters and crowds of extras in deep outdoor spaces. Many of these films received very favorable reviews from both the public and the press: among them Le courrier de Lyon (1911), Notre-Dame de Paris (1911), Les mystères de Paris (1913), and Germinal (1913). The most famous of these, of course, was Les Misérables (1912), whose four parts (totaling nearly 3500 meters) brought wordwide recognition.”
Eric le Roy in: Richard Abel: Encyclopedia of Early Cinema. Taylor & Francis 2005, p. 103-104

L’Arlésienne was shot almost entirely on location in Arles. In it we discover the old streets, the Roman amphitheater then used as a bullring, and the vast olive groves. Capellani shows a remarkable sense of pictorialism in his camera angles and lighting effects. The film even contains an astonishing 180-degree panorama. He uses double exposures with amazing virtuosity. Capellani manages to make us feel Frédéric’s torments as he is haunted by the image of the Arlésienne, which appears constantly by his side, even in the presence of his bride. The film captures the poetry of Daudet’s work. This first adaption of a classic was a masterstroke.”
Christine Leteux: Albert Capellani: Pioneer of the Silent Screen. University Press of Kentucky 2015, p. 25

>>> ALBERT CAPELLANI / LÉONCE PERRET