Cinema Lumiere - Sala Officinema/Mastroianni > 14:30


Jean Epstein
Introduced by

Manuela Padoan (Gaumont Pathé Archives)

Piano accompaniment by

Stephen Horne


Film Notes

In the Russian theory of the non-actor, Epstein, who detested the actor-actor, found a stimulus. This theory came to be taken literally in the West: it was believed, for instance, that Inkijinoff was not an actor! The subtlety of the Soviet technique, which made the film rely both on the knowing acting of expert actors, and on the expressions of faces chosen from the crowd, was not understood. Did Epstein fall for it too? It is possible, because Finis terræ is the inverse of the Russian school: no professional actor is found in it. The Russian influence is in the choice of a deliberately spare story, and the choice of environment. Finis terræ was filmed between May 1928 and January 1929, its story, almost non-existent, is a simple news item from the local paper: two friends work together collecting wrack. They quarrel for some futile reason, but one of the two is sick and the other puts him in a boat and manages, despite the calm and windless sea, to join the ship leaving the mainland with the doctor. It is exactly the antithesis of La Chute de la maison Usher. “It is the quest for a much more realistic kind of marvellous, certainly under the influence of Soviet films, the first of which had been seen at that moment”.

Henri Langlois, Jean Epstein, “Cahiers du cinéma”, n. 24, June 1953

Cast and Credits

Sog.: Jean Epstein. F.: Joseph Barth, Joseph Kottula, Louis Née, Raymond Tulle. Int.: lavoratori e pescatori dell’arcipelago di Ouessant. Prod.: Société Générale de Films. DCP. D.: 80’. Bn.