Jean Epstein

F.: Paul Guichard, Léon Donnot. Prod.: Pathé Consortium Cinéma. DCP. D.: 24’

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

On 22 June 1923, just five days after a violent eruption had begun on the island of Sicily, Jean Epstein and cameramen Paul Guichard and Léon Donnot went to see the volcano. The result was La Montagne infidèle, a documentary in which the filmmaker meditates on the real scenes that would dominate his films from the 1930s onwards, here in the form of natural disaster and the extraordinary.
In 1926, Epstein wrote about this experience in his book Le Cinématographe vu de l’Etna, one of his most important writings on film theory. The text is both a speculative reflection on the powers of cinema (such as its animism or its ability to make us question our identity) and a literary account of the film’s shooting. “The place for me to think about this most beloved living machine was this almost absolutely dead zone extending one or two kilometres around the first craters.”
The recovered print is a Pathé Kok 28mm tinted distribution version with Spanish subtitles, distributed by Vilaseca and Ledesma, Pathé representatives in Barcelona, Spain, and comes from the Pere Tresserra collection of the Filmoteca de Cataluña, which restored it between 2021 and 2022 (restoration report at

Rosa Cardona and Daniel Pitarch

Copy From

Restored in 4K in 2022 by Filmoteca de Catalunya at Centre de Conservació i restauració