“On leaving the theatre one has the impression of having witnessed the birth of a new art.”
– Adolf Loos
In 1922, after several years of directing successful films for the Gaumont studios, Marcel l'Herbier created his own production company, Cinégraphic. In addition to producing films by Claude Autant-Lara, Louis Delluc, Jean Dréville and others, L’Herbier put together an extremely ambitious project, L’INHUMAINE, a film intended to showcase the most cutting-edge modern arts in France (plastic arts, decorative arts, architecture, high fashion, music and cinema). The film stars the opera singer Georgette Leblanc; the melodramatic story concerns a femme fatale who is courted by a series of lovers, including a young engineer (played by Jaque Catelain), who symbolizes the future and the miracle of science.
The screenplay was written with an operatic structure. L’Herbier wrote that he “built chords, plastic harmonies; what is important is not the stream of events, it is what is vertical, it’s plastic harmony.” For the production of the film, L’Herbier brought together some of the greatest artists from the time period, including painter Fernand Léger, architect Robert Mallet-Stevens, glassmaker René Lalique, fashion designer Paul Poiret, sculptor Joseph Csaky, tapestry-maker Jean Lurçat, and directors Alberto Cavalcanti and Claude Autant-Lara, all of whom contributed to the striking visual design of this noteworthy film.
Following L’INHUMAINE, L’Herbier directed FEU MATHIAS PASCAL (1925), a dramatic film starring Ivan Mouzjoukine with stylized sets by Lazare Meerson and Alberto Cavalcanti. Over the course of his career, L’Herbier wrote several articles and pamphlets opining about the deep nature of the “Seventh Art.” From the beginning, L'Herbier fought for the recognition of the status of the filmmaker as artist, and of film craftsman as creative forces in the visual design of the motion picture.
Format: Blu-ray / Region A
Director: Marcel L'Herbier
Featuring: Georgette Leblanc, Jaque Catelain & Philippe Hériat
• 122 minutes
• B&W (tinted)
• “Behind the Scenes of L’INHUMAINE.”: A 15-minute featurette about the original production and making of L’INHUMAINE.
• "About the Recording of Aidje Tafial’s Music”: An exclusive look into the creation of the original score.
• A booklet featuring rare, behind-the-scenes photographs and information about the film.
Total Running Time: 02:02:00
Language: French intertitles and English subtitles
Musical Score: Aidje Tafial, Alloy Orchestra
Published By: Flicker Alley
Institutional Price: $250 (plus shipping)
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