Friday, April 27, 2012

The Silent Oscars: 1915

It's no wonder the surrealists loved Feuillade—his Paris is simultaneously whimsical and deadly, a place where you can lean out a second-story window and wind up with a lasso around your neck, where every cupboard hides a body, every hatbox a head, and your neighbor's loft conceals a cannon. There's no sense of safety—or sanity—anywhere. People are murdered on trains, in cafes, and even in their own beds. Perhaps that's why I, as a 21st century movie fan, find Feuillade's work so engaging—he anticipated the anxieties that came to define the 20th century and continue to plague us to this day: violence, paranoia, alienation, conspiracy, terrorism.

It also has a wonderfully nutty quality, the sense that anything could happen and often does.

"Feuillade's cinema," said Alain Resnais, "is very close to dreams—therefore it's perhaps the most realistic."

winner: Les Vampires (prod. Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont)
nominees: The Birth Of A Nation (prod. D.W. Griffith); The Cheat (prod. Cecil B. DeMille); The Italian (prod. Thomas H. Ince); Regeneration (prod. William Fox)
Must-See Movies: The Birth Of A Nation; Les Vampires
Recommended Films: Assunta Spina;The Cheat; Fatty's Tintype Tangle; His New Job; The Italian; Posle Smerti a.k.a. After Death; Regeneration; The Tramp
Of Interest: Alice in Wonderland; The Coward; A Fool There Was

winner: George Beban (The Italian)
nominees: Roscoe Arbuckle (The Keystone Comedies); Charles Chaplin (The Essanay Comedies)

winner: Francesca Bertini (Assunta Spina and La signora delle camelie)
nominees: Theda Bara (A Fool There Was); Geraldine Farrar (Carmen)

winner: Louis Feuillade (Les Vampires)
nominees: D.W. Griffith (The Birth of a Nation); Raoul Walsh (Regeneration)

winner: Sessue Hayakawa (The Cheat)
nominees: Marcel Lévesque (Les Vampires); Henry B. Walthall (The Birth of a Nation)

winner: Musidora (Les Vampires)
nominees: Anna Q. Nilsson (Regeneration); Clara Williams (The Italian)

winner: Raoul Walsh and Walter C. Hackett, from the autobiography My Mamie Rose by Owen Frawley Kildare (Regeneration)
nominees: Louis Feuillade (Les Vampires); Thomas H. Ince and C. Gardner Sullivan (The Italian)

SPECIAL AWARDS: G.W. "Billy" Bitzer (The Birth Of A Nation) (Cinematography); D.W. Griffith, Joseph Henabery, James Smith, Rose Smith and Raoul Walsh (The Birth Of A Nation) (Film Editing); Robert Goldstein and Clare West (The Birth Of A Nation) (Costumes); Frank Wortman (The Birth Of A Nation) (Set Design)

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