Piazzetta Pier Paolo Pasolini > 22:15

Proiezione con lanterna a carbone. Serata di gala Velle-Murillo

La princesse aux clowns (La principessa e il clown, Francia/1924) R.: André Hugon. D.: 60’. Did. Inglesi
La Ruche merveilleuse (Francia/1905) R.: Gaston Velle. D.: 4’
Un Drame dans les airs (Francia/1904) R.: Gaston Velle. D.: 3’
Petit Jules Verne (Francia/1907) R.: Gaston Velle. D.: 7’
El iris fantastico (L’iris fantastique, Spagna/1912) R.: Segundo de Chomón. D.: 5’

Piano accompanied by Donald Sosin

Free entry. Reservation: cinetecadirezione@cineteca.bologna.it 051 2195333 (from 26 June)
(In case of rain, the screening will be moved to the Sala Mastroianni)


Cast & Credits

Sog.: dalla pièce omonima di Jean-José Frappa. Scen.: Mary Murillo. F.: Maurice Velle, Amédée Morrin, Romain Parguel. Scgf.: Jacques-Laurent Atthalin. Mus.: Marc Delmas. Int.: Huguette Duflos (la principessa Olga), Charles de Rochefort (il clown Michaëlis e il principe Michel de Georland), Guy Favières (il re), Paul Franceschi (il partner), Louis Monfils (Dobrowsky), D’Alix (il conte Negrowsky), Magda Roche, José Durany, Engeldorff. Prod.: Etablissements Louis Aubert · 35mm. L.: 1512 m. D.: 60’ a 24 f/s. Col.

Movie Card
What a gorgeous-looking production this is. The story, such as it is, is set in the European country of Saronia, where the people are in revolutionary mood, and the king is worried that his son (Charles de Rochefort) is too distracted by the arts to inherit the burdens of state. He arranges marriage for his son with a princess (Huguette Duflos), but the couple are split up when the palace succumbs to the revolutionary crowd. What happens next should not be given away, since it involves a neat twist of plot and character, but the real pleasure of this slight but charming film lies in its sumptuous settings, glittering dresses and graceful manner. Maurice Velle, son of Gaston, was co-cinematographer on the film, made at around the time he first met his partner British scriptwriter Mary Murillo, recently returned from her successful time in America. She appears to have been responsible also for the English intertitles, since she was working for the film’s British distributor, Stoll. That this is something of a family affair might be seen in the loving recreation of a Parisian theatre, of the kind in which Velle’s magician father would once have appeared, while there is a sly in-joke reference to a Murillo painting, a rare personal signature from a screenwriter at any time. There are logical gaps to the background story (why is the new king able to return to the country so easily after the revolution?), but they matter not. This is lavish froth of a most enjoyable kind.

Luke McKernan


Gaston Velle: Music Hall, Orientalist Féeries and Greatest Successes
Apart from his films, Gaston Velle has left us that rarest of documents, an autograph filmography. Ordered by production company, it lists five (of the presumably thirteen) vues fantasmagoriques he made in 1902 for Louis and Auguste Lumière, fifty of his perhaps sixty créations cinématographiques for Pathé frères (1903-1913) and sixteen of the probably thirty films he made in Rome, in 1906 and 1907, during his spell as directeur artistique of Cines. Velle summarized the missing titles with indications like “plus more such short films”, “and various other films”, or “other films and general technical collaboration”, and he singled out three groups of films: Greatest Successes, Music Hall Numbers, and First Stencil Films.
Among his Music Hall films of 1904 are scènes de danses et acrobatiques with stellar performers such as the Dahlias doing a Danse plastique and a very early Valse apache four years before Mistinguett and Dearly’s hit version at the Moulin Rouge. Velle himself appears as a magician in several of his films; while classed as scènes à trucs et transformations they document what was undoubtedly his style as a stage performer (maybe even containing movements and routines of his father, Joseph). And seeing your hero move and smile is always a treat.
Like dances and magic acts, the féerie had a long stage tradition before becoming a film genre. La Rose d’or was performed in 1838 in Paris “with the most sumptuous decors and costumes and natural water fountains”. Velle annotated his 1910 version with an asterisk as one of the “Greatest successes”. Among other titles he marked are La Valise de Barnum, Un drame dans les airs and the charming féerie La Ruche merveilleuse – but not the film that is the greatest favourite with modern audiences, La Peine du talion.
Please take note that the films listed here will not be screened together in one programme session but at different times during the week of the festival – before or after the feature films scripted by Mary Murillo. We have included a beautiful film by Segundo de Chomón and propose to identify it, on the basis of the description in the Pathé catalogue and the decorative frame of Iris germanica, as El iris fantastico (1912) which would make it one of the last of its kind, the scène à truc et transformation, the genre in which Gaston Velle excelled. It was formerly identified as Les Tulipes (1907) by Segundo de Chomón or as Le Faune (1908) by Gaston Velle, but the Pathé catalogue descriptions do not fit, and no tulips are to be seen in the film. 

Mariann Lewinsky

Prod.: Pathé Frères · 35mm. L.: 70 m. D.: 4’ a 16 f/s. Hand coloured and tinted · Da: Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna e EYE Filmmuseum

T. copia: Ein Drama in den Wolken. Scen. Gaston Velle. Prod.: Pathé Frères · 35mm. L.: 55 m. D.: 3’ a 16 f/s. Bn and Hand coloured · Da: Filmarchiv Austria

Prod.: Pathé Frères · 35mm. L.: 118 m. D.: 7’ a 16 f/s. Stencil · Da: CNC – Archives Françaises du Film · Preserved in 2012 by EYE – Filmmuseum

T. copia.: LIris fantastique. Scen.: Segundo de Chomón. Int.: France Mathieu. Prod.: Iberico Film (Pathé) · 35mm. L.: 91 m. D.: 5’ a 18 f/s. Stencil · Da: EYE Filmmuseum