Gardiens De Phare

Jean Grémillon

Sog.: dall’opera teatrale omonima di Paul Autier e Paul Cloquemin. Scen.: Jacques Feyder. F.: Georges Périnal. Mo.: Jean Grémillon. Scgf.: André Barsacq. Int.: Paul Fromet (Bréhan padre), Geymond Vital (Yvon Bréhan), Génica Athanasiou (Marie), Gabrielle Fontan (la madre di Marie). Prod.: Société des Films du Grand Guignol. Pri. pro.: 25 settembre 1929 35mm. L.: 1636 m. D.: 72’ a 20 f/s. Col. 

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

Originally, Gardiens de phare is the film version of a successful play by Autier and Cloquemin from the “Grand Guignol” repertoire. In the first pages of his remarkable analysis, Albert Décamps recounts the credo of Jacques Feyder, who would eventually write the film’s screenplay and adaptation: “The screen requires images, not words, and therefore might demand a total revision of the character. This can force the screenwriter to create images that are apparently very distant from their literary form in the book or the play… The extraordinary dynamism of film, its extreme mobility through time and space, also allow the filmmaker to modify the order of movement and action… The filmmaker must exercise the freedom to move away from a literal interpretation, the visual perfection of his work is in play. The filmmaker who visually interprets a literary piece has only one goal: making cinema, making a film. He must refute any other consideration: otherwise he admits his own impotence”. More specifically, it is immediately obvious that cinema can demonstrate what is not narrated in the play. In this case the essential visual aspect is that the drama is firmly anchored in a seaside setting. The fate of the characters in this film – as will be later in Lumière d’été – appears to be engraved in the landscape. From the very beginning the sea, the dunes, and the lighthouse command a magical presence that transforms the location into a confined space. These visual characteristics are central to the film while the others – particularly the light reflected on the blades of glass of the lantern in the lighthouse – acquire an esthetic and dramatic tone precisely because they are tied to the set design. The sea and the lighthouse define a solitude that is both spatial and moral and are the initial and constantly reiterated expression of a solitude that creates tragedy. As Albert Décamps remarks: “What shocks us, what strikes at the very core of our being, is first of all the solitude of two beings, and their total impotence deriving from this solitude. Whatever the cause cited for their situation, whether destiny, fate, a combination of circumstances, or an evil force plaguing them, the drama they are living stems from their isolation. What is truly tragic is not that the son was bitten by a rabid dog, but rather that having been bitten he finds himself in a situation without any possibility of being rescued. He cannot communicate with the mainland, and even if he could, the storm would prevent any rescue attempt. What is also tragic is his awareness of the illness eating away at him and his unsuccessful attempts to control himself.
(Henri Agel, Jean Grémillon, Lherminier, Paris 1984)


Copy From