Onésime: Ultimate Conclusions

Onésime et l’étudiante
R: Jean Durand. D: Ernest Bourbon, Édouard Grisollet, Gaston Modot. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1912
Engl. subtitles

Ernest Bourbon, circus acrobat, actor, director, was born in Vierzon, Cher, France on October 23, 1886. Bourbon began his acting career in 1911 under the leadership of Jean Durand , especially in films about his character Calino or Zigoto. It was in 1912 that the director offered him the role of Onésime who will make him famous. Bourbon then focused his career on this particular character, to the point of staging all of his films on the adventures of this one character, even dropping director Durand from the series and taking over the director’s duties himself. His short career ended in 1918. He died on November 19, 1954 in Paris.”
Westerns all’Italiana

Onésime employé des postes
R: Jean Durand. D: Ernest Bourbon,  Mademoiselle Davrières, Édouard Grisollet. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1912
Engl. subtitles

“When one sees again the really old slapstick films, the Boireau or Onésime series, for example, it is not only the acting which strikes one as belonging to the theater, it is also the structure of the story. The cinema makes it possible to carry a simple situation to its ultimate conclusions which on the stage would be restricted by time and space, that is, to what might be called a larval stage. What makes it possible to believe that the cinema exists to discover or create a new set of dramatic facts is its capacity to transform theatrical situations that otherwise would never have reached their maturity. (…) In this sense certain types of theater are founded on dramatic situations that were congenitally atrophied prior to the appearance of the cinema. (…) The majority of these burlesques are and endlessly protracted expression of something that cries from within the character. They are a kind of phenomenology obstinacy. The domestic Boireau will continue to do the housework till the house collapses in ruins. (…) The action here no longer calls for plot, episodes, repercussions, misunderstandings, or sudden revearsals. It unfolds implacably to the point at which it destroys itself. It proceeds unswervingly towards a kind of rudimentary catharsis of catastrophe like a small child recklessly inflating a rubber balloon to the point where it explodes in his face – to our relief and possibly to his.”
André Bazin: What is Cinema? Essays selected and translated by Hugh Gray. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles/Cambridge University Press, London 1967. Here: Theater and Cinema. Part one, p. 79-80

Onésime champion de boxe
R: Jean Durand. D: Ernest Bourbon,  Mademoiselle Davrières, Édouard Grisollet, Gaston Modot. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1913

>>> The Onésime Series

>>> Zigoto