Cities, Europe and Beyond

Amsterdam, journaalonderwerpen
R: Unknown. P: Kinematograaf Pathé Frères (Nederland). NL 1913/14
Print: EYE
Dutch intertitles

“Compilation of newsreel items. – Launch of SS ‘Prins der Nederlanden’. – Competition of lorries. – Queen Wilhelmina and prince Hendrik visit an exhibition of church art. – A carriage accident on the Amsterdam Singel (8 februari 1913). – Suffragettes’ march in Amsterdam, February 15, 1914. – Queen Wilhelmina and princess Juliana go ice skating. – Arrival of health officer dr. L. van de Steen van Ommeren who has been working for the Red Cross in Constantinopel. – Fire in the Spalteholz en Ameschot factory, Achterweg 2. – Prins Hendrik visits the exhibition in Ghent.”
Eye Filmmuseum

Shots of Tanger: harbour, markets, streets, the fortress

August, 1914: Mobilization

P: British Pathé. Fr 1914

Mobilization of troops in France and Russia during World War One (August 1914)

“High angled shot of Paris street with soldiers marching, watched by crowds on pavement. Small group of French Cavalry rides by. Closer shot showing cheering, waving crowd, a few officers riding horses and carrying bouquets wave to civilians. High angled shot crowd of men packed into a narrow street, some are clamouring around building on right, then stacks of newspapers are handed out and passed around the crowd – newspapers announcing outbreak of war? Same scene shown from another angle, crowd of men & boys see camera & wave.
Shot from top of train coach of masses of men walking along platform. Shot of young men posing, some inside train coach some in front, some on top. The train has graffiti scrawled on it – they appear to be departing for military training / the front. Pan over barges moored along River Seine in Paris – these are being requisitioned by the military.
Train stopped on railway track, soldiers are walking around in front, preparing for departure, civilians also stand along tracks waiting. The soldiers wear baggy trousers and hats – look Russian, possibly Cossacks? Same location, shot of train moving. Cut to another troop train. More soldiers riding open freight wagons along with gun carriages. Another train passes, a few soldiers wave from freight wagons. Cut to another shot soldiers waving from passing train.
Various shots troops (French?) boarding ship. Shots of soldiers carrying / wearing a lot of army equipment, they are walking towards ship and up gangway.”
British Pathé

1er août 1914, la mobilisation générale est décrétée en France (Extraits)
P: Unknown. Fr 1914
Print: Section Cinématographique de l’Armée (SCA)

“Ce moment primordial du conflit ne sera pas immortalisé par la Section Cinématographique de l’Armée (SCA), qui ne voit le jour qu’en mai 1915. Des images existent néanmoins dans un film tourné le 13 août 1914 à Bordeaux, acquis plus tard par la SCA, montrant le départ d’un bataillon du 344e régiment d’infanterie. Elles sont complétées par des images filmées à Paris, vraisemblablement en août 1914, figurant dans un film réalisé après la guerre et dans une scène jouée par des marins en 1917 à Brest.”

>>> August 1914, here the German film Sturmzeichen

A Dark Sense of Humour

“In a long career spanning some 55 years in stop-motion puppet animation, Russian-Polish animator Wladyslaw Starewicz produced a fair few stand-out films. The Beautiful Leukanida is a very early example of Starewicz’s style and vision: trained in entomology, Starewicz was already familiar with preparing dried insects for study so using a ready-made if unusual cast to appear in his dramas and act out little fables of human foibles must have seemed the next logical step. The story here is one straight out of a Romantic fairy-tale universe, as re-enacted by beetles: two beetles duel over a noble lady beetle, the winner claiming her as his own and taking her back to his castle, the stag beetle loser swearing revenge and doing all he can to get her regardless of her feelings and opinions. The duel escalates into outright warfare between two kingdoms climaxing in an explosion that ultimately resolves nothing and kills everyone. Starewicz seems to have had quite a dark sense of humour. (…)

No matter how eccentric and Ruritanian the beetles’ universe is, with two rivals duelling for a lady’s favour, and their armies fighting desperately, ultimately the rival kingdoms are subject to the whims of the Cosmic Joker – in their case, Starewicz himself – who sees fit to destroy both kingdoms, all for nothing more than jealousy over a lady. Human wars have often been fought over even more trivial and / or less worthy causes. Ultimately there will be no winners. Had Starewicz known of the destruction that was later to come in a few years, no doubt he would have been horrified at his own prescience. The Beautiful Leukanida appears to be one of the earliest stop-motion animation films by Starewicz still in existence, and is worth watching mainly to see the high technical standard the animator had already achieved early in his career. The plot intentionally resembles a fairy-tale in its setting and in the way it develops, yet in its climax and resolution it becomes a modern, even prophetic warning of the dangers of human, all-too-human rivalries and jealousies.”
Under Southern Eyes

“He [i.e. Starewicz] described his work on the cartoon in the following way: ‘Naturally, first, an insect should be properly prepared. It’s not too hard to pass a thin wire through its legs, gluing it to its body with wax. I made the ‘battlefield’ with modeling clay to have a foundation that could hold an insect’s legs in place. There was no difficulty with the insects’ movements. Having thought out the future battle of the horned beetles, I prepared some basic poses. Every movement during filming was broken down into several phases. I set the light for each frame.’ The movie was silent and had no captions; instead, it was supplied with a detailed description so the viewer could understand what was happening on-screen. It was read aloud by narrators at every showing. The film ran well into the 1920s. After the Revolution, The Beautiful Leukanida was renamed ‘A Courtesan on the Throne’ – with the Bolsheviks no doubt wishing to denounce the unfaithful bug queen…”

>>> Christmas with Starewicz
>>> Wladyslaw Starewicz