lHirondelle et la Mesange (1920)

De film betovert me, door de sfeervolle beelden van het centrum van Antwerpen, en het ritme van de binnenvaart, met een sleep op de Schelde, de doortocht door Gent en het harde werk van het jagen in kanalen. 

l’Hirondelle et le mésange
Frankrijk 1920 (1983), 78' bij 18 b/s, Franse tussentitels. gedigitaliseerde versie.%u2028
Regie André Antoine. Assistent: Georges Denola.%u2028Scenario: Gustave Grillet.%u2028Productie: Société Cinématographique des Auteurs et Compositeurs Gens de Lettres.%u2028Camera: René Guychard, Léonce-Henri. Montage 1983: Henri Colpi en Sophie Durand.
Opmerkelijk feit: de ploeg van André Antoine maakte in 1920 circa 6 uur opnamen in Vlaanderen, die nooit zijn vertoond omdat de distributeur er geen brood in zag.
De blikken met het ruwe negatiefmateriaal zijn in 1982 teruggevonden in het archief van de Cinémathèque Française. Regisseur Henri Colpi monteerde toen een versie van 79 minuten, met een duidelijk verhaal: schipper Pierre en zijn vrouw en schoonzus varen door de kanalen en rivieren van Vlaanderen en Noord-Frankrijk met hun twee barken, l’Hirondelle en Le Mésange. Ze huren een schippersknecht in, die zich ontpopt als slecht mens. Hij is begerig naar de opbrengst van de smokkelwaar (diamanten) en belaagt de schippersvrouw. Schipper Pierre is hem te slim af en lost het probleem op zijn eigen manier definitief op.
“La musique de Kris Defoort (1959), compositeur maison chez LOD, se caractérise par une rencontre entre l’idiome classique et l’idiome du jazz, entre des passages annoncés et des passages improvisés. Avec son ensemble Dreamtime, il crée un propre langage musical qui redéfinit d'une façon originale le "jazz-band" traditionnel.”
Filmografie André Antoine
“Antoine was born in 1858 into a petty bourgeois family (his father was a railroad company clerk). However, because his family’s financial situation was quite strained he was not able to attend the prestigious Lycee%u0301 Charlemagne in spite of being awarded a scholarship. Instead he worked as a clerk and served 5 years in the army, where his health was severely damaged. At the age of 27 he joined an amateur theatrical club in Montmartre as an actor. He quickly moved up and eventually opened his own theatre, called the The%u0301a%u0302tre-Libre in 1887. While The%u0301a%u0302tre-Libre won fame and popularity due to Antoine’s many innovations, financial misfortunes forced him to close the theatre, leaving him hopelessly in debt. Luckily, in 1914 Pathe%u0301 offered Antoine a film contract that was promptly accepted, thus marking the beginning of his career as a film director.
Antoine’s film philosophy was centered on the concept of visual authenticity (achieved through location shooting) as well as on the extreme importance he attributed to the careful composition of the mise-en-sce%u0300ne. As early as 1917, he argued that “cinema should make real progress if it abandoned the studios to work in nature just as the Impressionist did. Instead of improvising an artificial milieu for the camera, we should transport the cameraman and his instruments into real buildings and interiors, as well as develop mobile electric generators for lighting” (5). Also, Antoine believed that cinema cannot be a medium for the expression of the subjective interior life of a character (6) and instead should present the external behavior of the character in three-dimensional space as prescribed by the original literary source. As a result of these convictions, Antoine generally relied on sparse editing (with drawn-out takes in long shots), while paying close attention to beautifully constructed mises-en-sce%u0300ne. Oftentimes, these create a feeling of constriction by limiting the possibility of dynamic development.
By consistently shying away from close-ups and avoiding the symbolic use of props (beyond their functional purposes), Antoine forced his actors into an impossible conundrum: on one hand,
realistic, oftentimes outdoor setting demanded a natural style of acting. On the other hand, the absence of subjective cinematic devices forced actors to rely solely on their acting powers when conveying their characters’ emotions. For example, courtroom scenes in Le Coupable (1917) present an overwrought acting style throughout the prosecutor’s unexpected confession: the actor stares into the camera, wrings his hands in despair, rolls his eyes around in an attempt to portray deep shame and guilt. These scenes seem especially convoluted and strained because of cross-cutting with flashbacks in which the streets of Paris tell a story of their own much more naturalistically and effortlessly. However, even in Le Coupable one can find a scene that appears to go against the grain of Antoine’s stylistic conventions; it depicts the protagonist as a young boy indulging himself (with the encouragement of his friend) by smoking a prohibited cigarette. As the action unfolds, it becomes clear that this transgression is not a simple act of disobedience, but the beginning of the protagonist’s downfall into crime. The surprising aspect of the episode is that instead of forcing the character to tell the story, Antoine relies on an activity (smoking) centered on an object (cigarette) to convey the implications.
Yet another fascinating observation can be made about Antoine’s unfinished L’Hirondelle et la me%u0301sange, which was not assembled into a film until a recent restoration. (Antoine’s son explained that the directors of Pathe%u0301-Consortium were dissatisfied with the film; there are also claims that because of unfortunate shooting conditions Antoine himself did not want to release it.) In one of the early scenes, an old sailor is interacting with his “crew” (the crew consisting of one helpmate). In the first shot, both the sailor and his helpmate are captured in a medium shot from the waist down, essentially limiting our view of them to their legs. The helpmate’s legs are lazily stretched across the deck (their owner obviously enjoying an idle break), but the sailor’s foot kicks the helpmate out of his rest and into action (in a more closely framed shot). The slapstick-like interaction between the feet of the two characters culminates in an uncharacteristically dynamic and effortless resolution. However, we have to keep in mind that while this footage was doubtlessly shot by Antoine, it is quite unclear whether (and in what manner) he was intending to use it, since he never finished the film.”
Bron: Anna Avrekh, ‘Epstein vs. Antoine: the crossroads of pictorialist naturalism and cinematic impressionism in La Belle Nivernaise’, URL: http://www.filmintelligence.org/pdf/collegium-papers-2006.pdf

Zie ook: http://www.silentera.com/articles/heissLokke/pordenone2005.html