Anton Giulio Bragaglia

Sog.: Anton Giulio Bragaglia. Scen.: Anton Giulio Bragaglia, Riccardo Cassano. F.: Luigi Dell’Otti. Scgf.: Enrico Prampolini. Int.: Thaïs Galitzky (Vera Preobrajenska / Thaïs), Augusto Bandini (Oscar), Ileana Leonidoff (Bianca Stagno-Bellincioni), Mario Parpagnoli (Conte di San Remo), Alberto Casanova, Dante Paletti (corteggiatori). Prod.: Novissima Film. DCP. D.: 37’ (fragment). Bn e 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

Russian Countess Vera Preobrajenska (Thaïs Galitzky) entices married men before leading them to ruin. She seduces the husband of her best friend, but when the latter suffers from depression and dies, Vera is overcome with remorse.
Of the three Bragaglia brothers, Anton Giulio remains the most well-known for his proximity from 1911 to Italian Futurism and its founder, Marinetti. Bragaglia directed four works, including Thaïs (to date the only preserved film), which expanded his reputation as a theorist and experimental photographer. The life of leading lady Thaïs Galitzky likely contributed to the director’s decision to cast her; archives consulted by one of the greatest specialists of the period, Giovanni Lista, reveal Bragaglia’s instant admiration upon discovering the actress on stage. He declares her the dancer of “mimo-plastique” choreography, very much in vogue at the time. The legendary character of Thaïs clearly ended up serving the arts well, from Apollinaire’s analyses to Anatole France’s novel, from Jules Massenet’s opera to the 1911 film by Feuillade… Thaïs is generally classified as a work of “futuristic cinema”; the designs by Enrico Prampolini (a futurist painter) emblematically open the film and adorn the apartments and finery of the provocative courtesan, then conclude it. They bring a remarkable complicit vigour to the contortions of Thaïs’ agony with the bold geometry of Prampolini, who borrows as much from the Vienna Secession as from Futurism, even precociously foreshadowing the abstraction of Art Deco. The picture’s central theme, decadent par excellence (featuring seduction, deceit, jealousy, suicide), also links Thaïs to the Dannunzian tradition of the diva film, constituting the best of Italian cinema of the 1910s.

Dominique Païni

Copy From

Restored in 2023 in 4K by La Cinémathèque française in collaboration with CSC – Cineteca Nazionale at L’Image Retrouvée laboratory (Paris-Bologna) from a partially decomposed tinted nitrate print and a internegative