Paul Leni

Sc.: Hans Brennert. F.: Carl Hoffmann. Scgf.: Paul Leni. In.: Käte Haack (Ursula von Hohenau), Adolf Klein (Conte Bransky), Dagny Servaes (Jadwiga, sua figlia), Ernst Hofmann (Conte Bronislaw von Kratschinsky), Heinrich Schroth (Dott. Robert Hart). P.: Bufa. 35mm. L.: 1200m D.: 64’ a 16 f/s.
T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

“This film, which shows the realistic strength of a documentary in many of its parts, is the oldest, among the few features which have survived, directed by Leni. It was shot during World War I and probably this is the most extraordinary cinematic document of the mystic feeling which pervaded the majority of German intellectuals in the early years of the conflict, and which Max Weber’s wife, Marianne, so described in her diary: ‘How marvellous have these latest months been! Our whole inner life is brought back again to simpler, grander lines based on communal feelings. Everything which is devoid of importance seems to disappear. Everyone is animated by goodwill. Every day brings forth hard work and tension: the highest point of one’s life. [...] Therefore we are not any longer what we have been for such a long time: lonely people. [...] The burning love for the community (Gemeinschaft) breaks the boundaries of the ego. Every one becomes one blood and one body with the others, all united in brotherhood, and ready to cancel their ego in the service of others.’”

(Marianne Weber, Max Weber, Ein Lebensbild, Tübingen 1926)

“In order to find confirmation of the deep rooting of war issues within German culture, we would like to present here an example drawn from Freud, who generally is quite distant from the Ideology of War (Kriegsideologie) but nonetheless is the author of an essay from 1915 permeated with the strong debate and spirit of the time: ‘It is clear that war was supposed to sweep away the conventional way of seeing death. Today death cannot any longer be denied; we are forced and compelled to believe in it. Men truly die, and not one at the time, but in great numbers, often by the tens of thousands every day. This is not any longer a happenstance event [...] And life has become interesting again, having found anew all its contents’”.

(S. Freud, Considerazioni attuali sulla guerra e la morte, Opere, ed. by C. L. Musatti, vol. 8, Turin 1976)

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