Around the World in 90 Years
Book Presentation and Silent Film Program with Live Music
Arranged and Curated by Dr. Ivo Blom, Amsterdam
11. März 2003 Filminstitut der Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf
18. März 2003 Kino Arsenal im Filmhaus am Potsdamer Platz, Berlin
20. März 2003 Filmmuseum im Stadtmuseum, München
(mit Zusatzprogramm „Erotik und Exotik“)
20.Mai 2003 Filmarchiv Austria, Metro Kino,Wien
27. Mai 2003 Kino im Deutschen Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main
03. Juni 2003 Cinémathèque Municipale de Luxembourg
06. Juni 2003 Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique, Brüssel
(zusätzlich SANGUE BLEU (Celio 1914)
KINtop presents two new books on early film distribution and programming: KINtop 11 on Kinematographen-Programme seems to be the first publication which is devoted to the short film programs which were the dominant cinema format before World War One. And Ivo Blom’s Jean Desmet and the Early Dutch Film Trade offers a comprehensive description and analysis of Desmet’s international business network which catered films to Dutch cinemas between 1907 and 1916. Some decades later, Jean Desmet donated about 900 exhibition copies to Amsterdam’s Filmmuseum where they form now the world-famous Desmet Collection. In his original and wide-ranging study, Ivo Blom uses the career of Jean Desmet as a means of exploring the the history of of cinema from the ground-level perspective of film distribution and exhibition. His sociologically nuanced and scrupulously documented story of ‘Citizen Desmet’ swells into an epic narrative of early urban cinema culture.
Animation of this lost cinema culture by composing a fine silent film program from the Desmet Collection was an idea just around the corner.
KINtop – Jahrbuch zur Erforschung des frühen Films, herausgegeben von Frank Kessler, Sabine Lenk, Martin Loiperdinger: KINtop 11 – Kinematographen-Programme, Stroemfeld Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2002, 184 pp., illustrated ,19 Euro (Subsribers 15 Euro)
Ivo Blom, Jean Desmet and the Early Dutch Film Trade, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam 2003, 472 pp., lavishly illustrated in b&w and color, 34 Euro (Softcover), 49 Euro (Hardcover).
the silent film program
PATHE JOURNAL 266A (F 1914, Pathé Frères)
Preserved in b&w, 76 m.
1. The pilot Emile Vedrines, who was killed by a fall of 25 meters (France, Reims).
2. Arrival of king Gustaf V and his family (Denmark, Arö).
3. The king and queen of Bavaria attend the opening of a home for invalid children (Germany, Munich).
4. The City Council places a palm at the foot of the statue of Daumesmil, defender of Vincennes , who spoke the words; "I will surrender the city as soon as they have given back my leg". (France, Vincennes)
5. A big crowd gathers to attend the last day of the concours hippique (France, Paris).
6. An earthquake: a 400 meters high mountain destroyed the whole regio at Noailliac (France Brive, Noailliac).
“Thus, from the beginning of 1912 through to mid-1914, Desmet acquired somewhere between 150 and 200 cinema newsreels from Pathé. Unfortunately, very few copies of these remain, so the newsreel appears somewhat undervalued as a genre in the Desmet Collection. Desmet presumably did not think it necessary to keep them for long, as they dated so much faster than fiction films. During the war, they were recycled as film leaders.” (Ivo Blom, Jean Desmet and the Early Dutch Film Trade)
EEN REIS LANGS DE BLOEMBOLLENVELDEN TE HAARLEM (A Tour of the Bulb Fields at Haarlem, NL 1909, Alberts Frères)
dir: Willy & Albert Mullens
preserved in color (stencil-color), 32 m
A family: husband, wife, child and a second wife, presumably the governess, walk through the bulb fields. The spouse chooss the flowers after which her husband pays the bill. In between we also see workers busy in the fields. The film was apparently exported too as it was mentioned in Der Kinematograph Düsseldorf 30 June 1909.
BLOEMBOLLENVELDEN TE HAARLEM, or BLOEMENVELDEN TE HAARLEM as the opening title on the film copy says, was a film Jean Desmet showed during his travelling cinema years, such as at the fair at the horticultural show in Zeist in Summer 1909. “Desmet’s programmes were sometimes designed with an eye to their location. THE LUSTRUM FESTIVITIES IN DELFT (Alberts Frères 1909) for example, was shown at the Delft fair a year after its release, and the screening of REIS LANGS DE BLOEMBOLLENVELDEN TE HAARLEM at the Zeist horticultural show was again hardly coincidental.” (Ivo Blom, Jean Desmet and the Early Dutch Film Trade)
ONESIME ET SON COLLEGUE (F 1914, Gaumont)
dir: Jean Durand
with: Ernest Bourbon
preserved in color, 148 m
Onésime has night shift and Pouitte has day shift. Secretly Pouitte takes his girlfriend to Onésime’s room during the day, when Onésime is working. The girl’s uncle finds out and suspects Onésime, after which a wild chase follows that ends at Pouitte’s who tells the uncle he just won the lottery and wants to marry the girl. “If Gaumont consistently produced the most outrageous of the slapstick comedies in the Onésime series, the company was also responsible for the most sophisticated – Perret’s Léonce series.” (Richard Abel, The Ciné Goes to Town)
UNA TRAGEDIA AL CINEMATOGRAFO (I 1913, Cines)
with: Ignazio Lupi, Bruto Castellani, Pina Menichelli
preserved in color, 151 m
“A Cines variation of comedies dealing with cinemas and promoting the company and its films is the short UNA TRAGEDIA AL CINEMATOGRAFO (Cines 1913), with a then still unknown Pina Menichelli as leading actress. A jealous man (Lupi) pursuits his mundane wife (Menichelli), who chats with a male friend in front of the entrance of a cinema The cinema is covered outside and inside with posters of the 1913 Cines top hit QUO VADIS?, a publicity stroke for the Cines company. Merry people in carnival outfits prevent the husband from seeing whether his wife has entered the cinema. Convinced that she is in there, together with her presumed lover, the husband fights his way in and threatens the manager of the cinema (Castellani, the strong man Ursus from QUO VADIS?) that he will shoot his unfaithful wife. The manager stops the projection - a film about an adulterous woman reading a secret letter from her lover, naturally - and warns the public that a jealous husband awaits his unfaithful spouse with a gun at the exit. The hilarious result is that, when the projection is restarted, all adulterous couples secretly flee from the theatre. When the lights are on again, the room is almost empty. Apart from being a funny film on the cinema as locus for illicit ‘rendezvous’, the idea of spectators watching a film in which they see other spectators watching a film creates a sort of Chinese box-effect used more often in Italian cinema […], thereby increasing the sensation of cinematographic voyeurism. This is even more so in UNA TRAGEDIA AL CINEMATOGRAFO because of the publicly shared secret of adultery.” (Ivo Blom, ‘All the Same or Strategies of Difference. Early Italian Comedy in International Perspective’, in I film e I suoi multipli, congress acts Udine 2002, forthcoming).
LITTLE MORITZ DEMANDE ROSALIE EN MARIAGE (F 1911, Pathé Comica)
dir: Henri Gambard. Roméo Bossetti
script: Z. Rollini
with: Moritz Schwartz, Sarah Duhamel
Preserved in b&w, 126 m
Little Hans goes to Rosalie’s father to ask the hand of his daughter. When the father refuses because he considers him not enough a man, Hans takes boxing lessons and ruins all the rooms in the house of his future father-in-law, who at last gives in. “Pushed to the extreme, patriarchal prerogative and masculine performance together end up destroying the social framework for grounding this parodic fable of romantic love, but it skips blithely on just the same into a conventional medium close up kiss.” (Richard Abel, The Ciné Goes to Town)
BROTHER BILL (1913, Vitagraph.)
dir: Ralph Ince
with: Ned Finley, Edith Storey, Chester HEss
preserved in color, 229 m.
Jim, golddigger and the youngest of two brothers, falls in love with Nanny, the shopgirl. Jim's elder brother Bill enters town and hears about the threats of Lazy Sam, who fancies Nanny too. Bill kidnaps Nanny during a dance party and shoots Sam. Jim leads the posse but when he discovers his brother is the thief and has managed to win over his girl, he misleads the posse though his heart breaks. Jean Desmet bought several Vitagraph-films directed by Ralph Ince, Thomas Ince's younger brother, such as the three-reelers THE MILLS OF THE GODS and THE STRENGTH OF MEN, still available in the Desmet Collection today. Ince started filming at Vitagraph in 1912 and left the company in 1916 after a prolific career in various genres. His style was to use few actors, often involved in triangular relationships. The Vitagraph westerns often dealt more with actors' performances than action and where thus loved by audiences in Europe at the time.
DE FIRE DJAEVLE (DK 1911, Kinografen)
dir: Robert Dinesen, Alfred Lind, Carl Rosenbaum
with: Edith Buemann. Agis Winding. Carl Rosenbaum. Robert Dinesen. Tilly Christiansen
preserved in color, 727m
“DE FIRE DJAEVLE was a film about a group of circus trapeze artists. The action scenes featured high- and low-angle shots of a kind not previously seen. The movie marked the breakthrough of the Danish circus movie, of which Desmet acquired such subsequent specimens as DØDSSPRING TILL HEST FRA CIRKUS-KUPLEN (Nordisk 1912). […] DE FIRE DJAEVLE seems to have been such a winner that Desmet’s print remained in distribution for several years. After DE FIRE DJAEVLE, the Kinografen company was able to invest in the biggest film studio in Scandinavia in the hope of achieving the same success with subsequent films. However, these expectations were not destined to be fulfilled.” (Ivo Blom, Jean Desmet and the Early Dutch Film Trade)
BUONA SERA, FIORI / GUTE NACHT (I 1909, Ambrosio)
with: Mary Cleo Tarlarini
preserved in color, 18 m
The Turinese film company Ambrosio, one of the oldest Italian film companies, produced curious farewell films in its earliest years. In doing so, it continued a tradition already established in magic lantern shows which often also ended with a farewell slide as the final image of the programme. In Buona sera, fiori! the leading Ambrosio actress Mary Cléo Tarlarini throws flowers on a neutral background, where they form the words Gute Nacht (Good Night).