Saturday, January 30, 2016

La Glace à Trois Faces (The Three-Sided Mirror, Jean Epstein 1927)

I watched this remarkable 1927 Jean Epstein silent film to learn something about French Impressionism, an avant-garde film movement that developed in France in the 1920s and had great influence on later European cinema. I tried to look at it with humility and curiosity, but without letting its stature as a Highly Significant Silent Movie interfere in any way with my enjoyment of it.

What struck me most was the wide variety of techniques employed, which I will attempt to illustrate in the following, and by the attention to eyes and gazes. A scene at a park focusing on the interplay of looks between two love rivals and the woman they compete for had me totally spellbound. Eyes are also essential to immerse the viewer into the characters' psychology, which is the main focus of most Impressionist films.