film: Pastrone: Cabiria (1914)

“Two hour silent Italian film” sounds frightening. So I’ve been hesitant to watch it, despite knowing its importance in the film world. But tonight I watched it, and was surprised to enjoy it very well. It moved along quickly enough, though the plot seemed bogged down with excessive motivations and plots. I think I possess a better ability to see these films in context than my parents, for I didn’t seem to be amazed or laughing with them, I found the special effects excellent, I found the caricature expressiveness reminiscent of stage acting, and the epic nature rivals any great epic I’ve known, its great sets, trained elephants and tigers, and above all the temple of Moloch and the ceremony of child sacrifice. Knowing its influence will be clear when I begin watching Griffith’s films, I also know that I cannot recognize the extent of the influence without watching its predecessors–but how far back can one possibly begin? I watch this to understand Griffith, to understand everything after, and finally to understand Godard. So it goes.

13 April 2007

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