Gaumont Newsreels

T. ing.: Gaumont Newsreels

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

Upon its release in September 1932, Dulac’s internationally competitive weekly sound newsreel journal France-Actualités-Gaumont revitalized the field. It not only made use of the latest technologies and production and distribution methods, it was also much less consensual than traditional journals, due to the diversity of its subject matter (i.e., more local and specifically working-class subjects), its humanist and universalistic point of view, and its analytical form. One of the few intellectuals and filmmakers (alongside Russian documentarist Dziga Vertov) to write about this form theoretically, Dulac argued that the newsreel was the “most sincere” and “pure” of the cinema’s many applications. Its liberty from the dominant fiction forms, as well as its unique and unequalled capacity to capture reality, approached her ideal of a pure cinema, and inspired her to develop her own theory of “film truth”, a precursor to cinéma-vérité. The first selection featured here includes a beautiful and surprising newsreel on the yo-yo craze that recalls her abstract films, as well as two segments on one of her preferred themes, the “New Woman”. The second selection is designed to provide insight into the turbulent social context in which she made her pacifist compilation film Le cinéma au service de l’histoire (1935). It also features newsreels related to a legal case in which Dulac was involved, concerning the freedom of the filmed press.

Tami Williams