Anthology Film Archives


September 21 – September 30

“I would like to imprint in some pure corner of your memory the name of Jean Epstein, and not only as one of the greatest architects of images, but also, and particularly, as a great thinker and a misunderstood philosopher.” –Abel Gance

This fall brings the second half of our comprehensive retrospective of the work of the pioneering filmmaker Jean Epstein. A key figure in early French cinema, both as a director and a film theoretician, Epstein is known today primarily for THE THREE-SIDED MIRROR (1927) and his adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1928) (both of which are included in Anthology’s Essential Cinema repertory collection). But Epstein was extremely productive throughout the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, making more than two-dozen short- and feature-films, which together comprise an astoundingly inventive, eclectic, and vibrant body of work. Most of these films have gone unscreened in NYC for decades, and we are overjoyed to be presenting them now, many in newly restored prints courtesy of the Cinémathèque Française.

This second half of the retrospective features Epstein’s sound films, a varied collection of works comprising the astounding films he made on the islands of Brittany (including MOR’ VRAN, CHANSON D’ARMOR, and L’OR DES MERS), a variety of short films commissioned by entities such as the National Federation of Construction and the United Nations, several rarely-screened narrative features, and the exquisite LE TEMPESTAIRE, which marked Epstein’s return to Brittany.

Epstein was both filmmaker and film theorist: there is never a moment in his film practice when Epstein is not also writing about his conception of cinema. Several of these writings are featured in a new anthology of work by and about Epstein, JEAN EPSTEIN: CRITICAL ESSAYS AND NEW TRANSLATIONS (edited by Sarah Keller and Jason Paul, Amsterdam University Press, 2012), which will be available at Anthology.

For further discussion of Epstein’s work, a roundtable will take place starting at 7:30pm on September 27 at Columbia University’s Faculty House, with participants including Francesco Casetti (Yale University), Stuart Liebman (CUNY Graduate Center), Ludovic Cortade (NYU), and Sarah Keller (Colby College). Visit for more details.

Organized in collaboration with the Cinémathèque Française and Sarah Keller (Colby College), and with support from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Special thanks to Emilie Cauquy (Cinémathèque Française); Delphine Selles-Alvarez & Muriel Guidoni (Cultural Services of the French Embassy); Eric Le Roy & Jean-Baptiste Garnero (Archives françaises du film-CNC); Antti Alanen & Boris Vidović (KAVA: National Audiovisual Archive Finland); Julie Cazenave (Ciné-Archives); Benoît Dalle & Pierre Denoits (Potemkine Films); Vincent Deloménie (SNCF); Geneviève Fouéré (Ouest-France); Laure Gaudenzi (Cinémathèque Universitaire); James June Schneider; and Gilles Venhard (Gaumont).

Unless otherwise noted, all films are in French with projected English subtitles.

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