Evgenii Bauer is blowing my mind!

In Silent films I like on June 27, 2009 at 7:20 am

Evgenii Bauer is the Douglas Sirk of early silent Russian cinema.  His films are full of melancholic characters who are haunted by dreams and often commit suicide.  They’re very…Russian.

“Twilight of a Woman’s Soul” (1913), “After Death” (1915), “The Dying Swan” (1917) — each is more exquisitely depressing than the last.  A lover seduces with this line: “the most sublime thing in life is peace and the most sublime peace is death.”  A woman comforts her father by saying “life is more terrible than death, there is no need to be afraid.”  He gives her a grateful hug.

Like Sirk, they are technically impressive.  A three minute tracking shot with dozens of extras in 1915?  Look away, DWG.  But mainly, they impress for their grandeoise melodrama.  The virginal recluse falls for the tormented singer and unkowningly steels her resolve to kill herself.  The mute ballerina whose “Dying Swan” inspires the artist to capture death in his paintings will die when love makes her an unsuitable subject.

These films are like Twilight Zone episodes where misery is the hook.

Dude made films for four years and then he died.

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