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MONSIEUR HAWARDEN

Belgium / Netherlands, 1968 (MIFF 1969, Programme 3)

Director: Harry Kümel

A coach arrives in a village in the Ardennes in the mid-nineteenth century bringing an elegant gentleman and his lady companion. Monsieur Hawarden is the surviving member of a family of Viennese aristocrats and after some years of travelling he wishes to settle and forget the past. . . .

This strange film is based on a Flemish novel inspired by an actual diary written around 1850 by one Meriora Gillibrand. Harry Kumel dedicates his first feature to von Sternberg, but in its cool, disciplined intensity it is more redolent of the work of the great Scandinavian directors. It is one of the most handsome costume pictures to emerge from Europe recently, but its modern idiom, freely indulging a swinging camera for an elegant pattern of disturbed, a-rhythmic images, creates an unusual period tragedy which places its creator in the ranks of prominent directors.

See also...

Calanda

France, 1966
Calanda is the Spanish village birthplace of Luis Bunuel. The great director's son has made this record of a strange annual ritual. Legend asserts that when Christ died the skies thundered for twenty… More »

The Ravens

Switzerland, 1967
In the darkness of the Middle Ages, to love a woman within the society from which one is exiled was a crime punishable by death. . . . This savage romance is told with fluid animation drawn with powd… More »

6 : 14.2

USA, 1968
The animation of stills breathes life into this ballet of long distance running. ... More »

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