TIH MINH – 1. Le Philtre d’oubli

Louis Feuillade

Scen.: Louis Feuillade, Georges Le Faure. Int.: Mary Harald (Tih Minh), René Cresté (Jacques d’Arthys), Édouard Mathé (Francis Grey), Louis Leubas (Kistna), Georges Biscot (Placide), Lugane (Jane d’Athys), Madame de La Croix (Madame d’Athys), Gaston Michel (dottor Gilson), Emile André (dottor Davesnes), Marcel Marquet (dottor Clauzel), Louis Feuillade (ispettore di polizia). Prod.: S.E.G. – Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. DCP.

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

After the triumphs of his four great serials (Fantômas in 1913-1914, Les Vampires in 1915-1916, Judex in 1916 and La Nouvelle mission de Judex in 1917), Louis Feuillade found a new path in a genre that was running out of steam (having been initiated by Victorin Jasset and his 1908 film Nick Carter). He imagined a more open world, a story of espionage against a backdrop of colonial epic and parapsychology. In Tih Minh, this consists of nothing less than the destruction of the British empire in India and the upheaval of the global political balance… Dabbling in poetry, Louis Feuillade addressed his audience: “Good public, delighting in silent dramas / We offer you today in all its fresh splendour / Tih Minh, a novel of love and mad adventures / Of which Apollo was the printer / Here, O public, see a fine collection of images / Breathed into life French springtime sun / Without even having to turn any pages / At the cinema, admire each one”. The formula of the feuilleton remains, Tih Minh was to include 12 episodes that had a literary origin, published daily in “Le Petit Parisien”. Another great development: the central character and eponymous of the film was a young Eurasian girl, Mary Harald, previously filmed by Feuillade in his 1918 film, Vendémiare. She stars in the film in the manner of those great Italian divas that the cinema would show its fondness for over the next decade. Her presence, the mystery that surrounds her (and probably Feuillade’s own love for her) inspire the filmmaker with pre-surrealist visions that will seduce Louis Delluc, still reticent in his style. There are so many reasons to (re)discover this unknown masterpiece.

Pierre Philippe

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Restored in 2020 by Gaumont in collaboration with CNC - Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image animée at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory