film: Feuillade: Les Vampires [e4] : Le spectre (1915)

Feuillade’s next installment in Les Vampires series is not nearly as good as the last, partially because Irma Vep isn’t nearly as sexy. But also the plot is kinda dull. However, I will note one piece of interest: a flashback. It’s never occurred to me before now that media dependent on time, similar to our own experience living, can only represent a present moment. While we have our imaginations to paint the past and future for us, that’s an entirely interior phenomenon, and film can only convey it through a verbal recollection or a visual representation of a subject’s imagination.  And when it comes to a silent film, including a lengthy paragraph of text is far less desirable than showing the memory; however, this possibility immediately introduces a question of reliability, which we’re familiar with through literature. We don’t question the narrator, that is, the one who is writing these title cards,  the voyeur. But this is something new: taking the film out of the narrator’s hands, giving it to a character, whose sequence may or may not have occurred. We don’t know, nor is that subject addressed. But this is the first film I’ve seen so far that has such an element of flashback and questionable reliability.

Hm, there is the WC Fields film, The Fatal Glass of Beer, which presents the same dilemma to the audience, but that did not strike me as this does. Perhaps because I’m seeing these as an evolution.

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