Fri

28/06

Cinema Lumiere - Sala Officinema/Mastroianni > 16:30

JUDEX

Georges Franju
Introduce

Bernard Eisenschitz

JUDEX

Film Notes

Franju considered Feuillade a pivotal director because of his genius for identifying the eerie in the mundane. When he was asked to direct a new version of Judex, he responded that he would have preferred to do Fantômas. Whereas Fantômas and Les Vampires were composed of practically independent narratives, Judex is a proper serial, a single plot divided into 12 chapters. The screenwriters, Francis Lacassin (who played a major part in the rediscovery of Feuillade) and Jacques Champreux (Feuillade’s grandson) produced a fundamentally faithful adaptation. The 1917 version of Judex never enjoyed a good reputation: after Feuillade’s previous criminal masterminds, this righter of wrongs was too much like a policeman. Franju’s interest may have laid elsewhere, but his comparative indifference to the subject matter spurred his inspiration: “To hell with fiction, science is what I’m interested in. For instance, the thing that matters in Feuillade is the magic of his orthochromatic photography, and that is what I want to recapture at any cost. I want to make a dreamlike picture that is about form: a ceremony of sorts, with a sense of luxury. And this is what Edith Scob and Francine Bergé, the fair and the dark lady, bring me. Together, they are an embodiment of cinema”.

Franju complements his own imagery – birdmen, etc – with Feuillade’s, which he makes his own: fraudulent bankers and criminals, a poisoned costume ball, black tights, a down-to-earth acrobat, a woman falsely drowned floating on the water, people scaling walls like insects. Judex was Edith Scob’s fourth film with Franju; while Francine Bergé, recently discovered as a criminal housemaid in Nico Papatakis’ Les Abysses, here interprets Diana Monti in a different, though equally effective manner to Musidora’s original performance. The closing title states: “In homage to Feuillade, and in memory of an unhappy time: 1914.” A slight anachronism, emphasising the unexpressed presence of the war, that obsession of Franju’s, just as his next film, Thomas l’imposteur, would show.

Bernard Eisenschitz

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dalla sceneggiatura di Arthur Bernède e Louis Feuillade per il film a episodi Judex (1917). Scen.: Jacques Champreux, Francis Lacassin. F.: Marcel Fradetal. M.: Gilbert Natot. Scgf.: Robert Giordani. Mus.: Maurice Jarre. Int.: Channing Pollock (Judex/Vallières), Francine Bergé (Diana Monti/Marie Verdier), Edith Scob (Jacqueline), Michel Vitold (Favraux), Théo Sarapo (Morales), Sylva Koscina (Daisy), Jacques Jouanneau (Cocantin), René Génin (Pierre Kerjean), André Méliès (il dottore). Prod.: Robert de Nesle per Comptoir Français du Film. 35mm. D.: 93’. Bn.