Cinema Lumiere - Sala Officinema/Mastroianni > 18:30


Henri Roussel
Piano accompaniment by

Gabriel Thibaudeau



Friday 03/07/2015


Original version with simultaneous translation through headphones


Film Notes

L’Île enchantée is unlike anything else Roussel ever did, and is perhaps his best film. Most atypically, it is a very physical film, a Corsican Western of sorts, full of pursuits and cliff-hanging incident, all directed with vigor. Roussel’s hero is a Corsican outlaw wanted by local gendarmes for a vendetta killing. He is also pitted against an industrialist who has built a steelworks in the region and wants to raze the outlaw’s ruined ancestral castle. The protagonist then falls in love with the industrialist’s daughter, who tragically thinks she can bring both men to see reason, but only succeeds in provoking more tragedy and permanently alienating the outlaw from society.
Roussel shot much of the film on location in Corsica, whose wild, beautiful mountainscapes, canyons, and villages contribute to the theme of Progress vs. Tradition. The evocative steelworks scenes were filmed in a plant in Normandy and echo Roussel’s breakthrough feature, L’Âme du bronze (1917), a propaganda war melodrama set in an ironworks factory. (There is also a reminder of Roussel’s villainous turn in André Antoine’s The Corsican Brothers in 1915).
Having passed the innovative Jules Kruger on to Gance, Roussel renewed his collaboration with Maurice Velle, an older, now-forgotten but superb cameraman whom Roussel may have met during his acting-directing débuts at Éclair. Best of all, Roussel cast faultlessly: Rolla Norman, who had a second-rank film career, is like a romantic, virile figure out of Mérimée’s Colomba or Dumas. Jacqueline Forzane, whose career was sadly brief, is touching as a modern, idealistic professional woman confused by love and filial devotion. There is also a poignant supporting performance by Paul Jorge, who was the saintly Archbishop Myriel in Henri Fescourt’s Les Misérables (1925) and would shortly play a compassionate priest in Dreyer’s Passion of Joan of Arc – here he is the outlaw’s grandfather, who clings proudly to the ancestral hearth.

Lenny Borger

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Henri Roussel. F.: Maurice Velle, Paul Portier. Scgf.: Georges Jacouty. Int.: Rolla Norman (Francesco Della Rocca), Jacqueline Forzane (Gisèle Rault), Jean Garat (Firmin Rault), Gaston Jacquet (Gabriel Lestrange), Renée Héribel (Chilina Leonardi), Paul Jorge (Martino Della Rocca), Roby Guichard (Pepino), Geymond Vital (Ferrari), Pierre Delmonde (Leonardi), Mario Nasthasio (Paglietti). Prod.: Lutèce Films · 35mm. L.: 2394 m. D.: 96’ a 22 f/s. Col. French intertitles

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