posteD ON OCTOBER 13
Rainer Rother, director of the Deutsche Kinematheke in Berlin, introducing Paul Czinner's Ariane, Russian Maid.
"The lead role is played by Elisabeth Bergner. The Viennese director and the actress began their collaboration in 1924 with the film Husbands or Lovers. The actress was already famous in the Berlin theatre scene. She often appeared delicate and fragile, as she did in Ariane..., and yet she was proud of it. Her talent is particularly evident in her talkies. The script is by Carl Mayer, the unforgettable screenwriter of the horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). Ariane, Russian Maid, is a Nero film production, a now legendary art house company with such famous productions as M and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse. There’s an impressive list of masterpieces, most of which have been restored in recent years by the German Film Archive. For the restoration of Ariane..., we relied on two period prints from the Swiss Film Archive. We were able to identify the best sound and image material by comparing them and achieved a significant improvement in the sound. We managed to restore the beauty of the film.”
Irène Jacob, President of the Lumière Institute, introducing Jane Campion's Portrait of a Woman
"I discovered Jane Campion's cinema with Sweetie, her first film, and then An Angel at my Table, which I saw when they were released in the theatre. I was a very young actress. She had an originality and such tremendous and singular female characters, who were loved and defended, that I was overwhelmed. So I did some research on her. Campion had studied anthropology and art. Then she entered a film school, where she had to differentiate herself from the other students, who were all men. She says that she decided early on to take a personal point of view for each of her projects. As a woman, she saw women's stories, with this idea: what is it like for a woman to have aspirations that are different from what society expects of us? And how can we move forward with the hope of finding a life that reflects us, safe from the predators who will block our path? In this film, I was overwhelmed by the quality of the acting, especially Nicole Kidman. The way Jane Campion weaves her characters together is admirable. She often says that what she likes most is when she sees an actor fly away. It's the moment when she feels that he or she has taken over the role. And this film is a good example.”
© Eric Voidey
Reported by Benoit Pavan and Charlotte Pavard