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VARIETY

Germany, 1925 (MIFF 1964)

Director: E. A. Dupont

In 1925 two German films in particular had immediate and widespread influence on motion picture technique: Variety, which showed that the camera couId be put to outstanding uses, and The Last Laugh which emphasized fluidity and eliminated captions. Both starred Emil Jannings and both brought a closer realism to the screen.

The story of Variety is simple. A fairground showman leaves his wife for a young girl, finds that she has betrayed him,and kills the other man, Dupont's achieve­ment is the crystallisation of all the experiments and experiences of the post-war period in this film, which to many is the greatest of all German silent films.

Its uncompromising depiction of a man-crazy woman (Lya de Putti) and her victim (Emil Jannings), and the ensuing murder and tragedy, combines horror and dread with sensualiiy. Brilliantly knit sequences produce high dramatic tension, and no elements are presented that do not contribute to the whole.

Fluid camera transitions, skilful dissolves, multiple ex­posures, arresting angles and perspectives, eloquent pantomime, dramatic lighting, free use of detail and the camera always on the move, make this film unforgettable.

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