Thymiane is a beautiful young girl who is not having a storybook life. Her governess, Elizabeth, is thrown out of her home when she is pregnant, only to be later found drown. That same day,... See full summary »
Two soldiers--searching the Sahara for Atlantis--are captured by raiders from the lost city. They are taken before its beautiful queen who has over 50 mummified ex-lovers! What follows is ... See full summary »
A group of German infantrymen of the First World War live out their lives in the trenches of France. They find brief entertainment and relief in a village behind the lines, but primarily ... See full summary »
In Spain, in the sixteenth century, an elderly gentleman named Don Quixote has gone mad from reading too many books on chivalry. Proclaiming himself a knight, he sets out with his squire, ... See full summary »
Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Feodor Chaliapin Sr.,
Joe May's sensual drama of life in the Berlin underworld is in many ways the perfect summation of German filmmaking in the silent era: a dazzling visual style, a psychological approach to ... See full summary »
Peter and Maria, a newly-married American couple come to a small Swiss village to hire Glooker, a famous mountain guide, to take them up the east wall of Pitz-Palu, one of the highest peaks... See full summary »
Leni Riefenstahl complained that directors Arnold Fanke and G.W. Pabst put her through a grueling shoot and claimed that they were deliberately cruel to her. Never-the-less this would be her most critically acclaimed performance. See more »
Most of the time, its the world. Its not the story that matters, or the inflections we see as jokes. Or any of that when I watch a movie.
Most of the time it is the trill of entering another universe. A different cosmology where the forces that drive souls are different from the one I have chosen to live in. Its especially rewarding when I know that the cosmos was real so far as the filmmakers are concerned. So, for instance I like those films from radical Christians about fighting the devil in the end times, because the film itself is part of that battle for them.
I like watching films from the US side of the cold war, where impending and nearly certain brimstone was expected from an evil empire, the science stolen, with agents still among us.
And I like watching these German mountain films. All the ones I mention are generally insipid, but the filmcraft of these in terms of the visuals is competent and sometimes interesting. For instance in this one there is a remarkable I will go so far as to say unforgettable visual of the villagers rousing in the night for rescue. The scene is of dozens of men with spectacular torches (they called them pitch torches) weaving through snow hollows in a sort of swooshy haunt. But that's visual froth on the beer.
What we have here is a strange association of nature with place, of purpose with nature and of love as a sort of purpose. One can readily see how this world could support a notion of global destiny, and in fact one can see how close it is to the cosmos of Polish Jews and see why the threat seemed so real. You can even trace it through the cinematic career of one remarkable woman, Leni, who evolved through the mystery of place to the mystery of the body. The natural body, using a very specific notion of "nature."
But for someone like me, a cosmological tourist, a collector of abstracted curios, this one in Leni's chain is the most jarring because it has the strongest pulse. You hardly notice the woman. Its all mountain blood.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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