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THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF THE USHER

France, 1928 (MIFF 2012, Jean Epstein: Bonjour Cinema)

Director: Jean Epstein

THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF THE USHER

“Witness a portal into a complex, heretofore unknown dimension of cinematic representation.” - Slant

Jean Epstein's celebrated loose adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's famous gothic tale is a triumph of surrealistic cinema and an unparalleled swansong to the artistry of early silent cinema.

Creating unnerving atmosphere through avant-garde techniques and the most extravagantly evocative staging, Epstein depicts Roderick Usher's (Jean Debucourt) descent into madness as he desperately tries to immortalise his dying wife (Marguerite Gance) through her portrait. The resulting film is a visceral example of brooding and heightened imagination.

Screens with The Three-Sided Mirror (France, 40 mins), Epstein's playful, non-linear short about a wealthy businessman's relationship with three different women. Told via flashback as each woman recounts her story, it broke cinematic conventions before they were even established, merging past, present and future into a free-spirited tale of romantic rivalry and jealousy.

D/P/S Jean Epstein WS Cinémathèque française L French intertitles w/English subtitles TD 35mm/1928

This film has been restored by La Cinémathèque française.

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See the film and read the book; browse online at Readings.

See also...

THE BEAUTY FROM NIVERNAIS

Love blossoms on the canals of Burgundy. ... A bargeman takes an abandoned boy into his family and raises him as his own. Ten years later, as a romance between the boy and the bargeman's daughter ... More »

The Three-Sided Mirror

Jean Epstein's playful, non-linear short about a wealthy businessman's relationship with three different women. Told via flashback as each woman recounts her story, Three-Sided Mirror broke cinematic ... More »

La Tempestaire

Jean Epstein uses time-lapse photography and visual and aural slow motion to tell the tale of a fisherman stuck at sea during a storm, and his worried fiancé waiting for him back on shore. ... More »

THE FAITHFUL HEART

“Cœur Fidèle must be seen if you want to understand the resources of the cinema today.” - Filmmaker René Clair ... Jean Epstein's best-known feature film, The Faithful Heart is in essence ... More »

THE LION OF THE MOGULS

“Cinema is an experimental device that builds - that is, that conceives - an image of the universe.” - Jean Epstein ... One of France's first masters of the cinematic avant-garde, Jean Epstein ... More »

The Sea of Ravens

Jean Epstein's short documentary filmed on the Breton island of Sein, which film preservationist and cinephile Henri Langlois called “one of the most beautiful documentaries in the history of ... More »

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