Jump directly to the page contents

LE BRASIER ARDENT (The Burning Crucible, Ivan Mosjoukine, F 1923, 1. & 10.3.) Mosjoukine's second and last directorial work, a "tour de force blend of surrealism, Freud and dada," (Jay Weissberg), is peppered with unusual gags and experiments, has a wild motley plot and eccentric set design. Mosjoukine plays a detective known as "Z" who is hired by the jealous husband of a married woman (played by his own wife Natalya Lisenko or Nathalie Lissenko) who has been visited by Z himself in her dreams after reading his memoirs. "One day at the Colisée cinema, I saw LE BRASIER ARDENT," Jean Renoir later recalled. "The audience was shouting and whistling, shocked by a spectacle so different from their usual fare. I was delighted. I decided to abandon my trade, ceramics, to try to make films."

PIKOVAYA DAMA (Queen of Spades / Pique Dame, Yakov Protazanov, Russia 1916, 2.3.) was based on the eponymous short story by Alexandr Pushkin and was one of the great successes of the collaboration between Mosjoukine and Protazonov. Mosjoukine is resplendent in this character study and offers a performance of blazing, yet reserved, intensity. He plays Hermann, an officer of the Russian Army, who hears the story of an elderly countess who knows the secret of three winning cards. Obsessed with trying to find out the secret, he accosts her and draws a pistol - she dies of fright. Later, her ghost appears to Hermann and he is driven to madness.

OTETS SERGYI (Father Sergius, Yakov Protazanov, Russia 1918, 3.3.) In this adaptation of a short story by Leo Tolstoy, the dashing young officer Prince Kasatsky (Mosjoukine) falls in love with the young countess Korotkova. Not long before they are due to be married, she tells him she is the tsar's mistress. Deeply hurt and disappointed, he gives up all worldly pleasures and goes to live in a monastery where he becomes known as Father Sergius. There too he faces temptation and is tormented by his own demons, as he tries to resist. In one of his best dramatic roles, Mosjoukine transforms from a young man to an old monk. OTETS SERGIY could be made because of the February Revolution, which lifted the ban on portraying religion on screen, but this literary adaptation which featured a star in the main role was clearly marked by pre-revolutionary spirit.

L'ANGOISSANTE AVENTURE (Yakov Protazanov, F 1920, 4.3.) was made during the Ermolieff troupe's long trip from Russia to France, with scenes being shot in Constantinople, Marseille and Paris. The light and playful film, which was based on a screenplay by Mosjoukine, is about a young aristocrat who is disinherited by his father when he leaves his family to live with a dancer. In this story full of visual wit, Mosjoukine displays the charm and wild energy of a young boy. The film was given a happy ending that almost comes as a surprise, in order to please the taste of the French public. "Mosjoukine was by turns merry, charming, tender, sarcastic, pathetic, dramatic, horror-struck, brutal, despairing. A superb rainbow of emotion!” wrote the journalist Jean Arroy in 1927.

L'ENFANT DU CARNAVAL (Ivan Mosjoukine, F 1921, 9.3.) A foundling is left in front of the home of a rich aristocratic bachelor during the Nice carnival. The marquis adopts the child but soon finds that he cannot cope, so he employs a nanny who turns out to be the child’s real mother. Just as the two have fallen in love and there is a happy ending in sight, the woman's husband - long thought dead - turns up. In this film, Mosjoukine employed his unique mix of lively humor and reserved seriousness. Ten years after its success, Mosjoukine and the director Alexandre Volkoff made a sound remake that was a flop.

KEAN (DÉSORDRE ET GÉNIE) (Alexandre Volkoff, F 1923, 6.3.) The most expensive and prestigious film made by the Albatross production company was about the famous 19th-century stage actor Edmond Kean, whose life was marked by disorder and genius, as indicated by the title. Mosjoukine portrayed Kean as a tortured romantic genius lost in the space between stage and reality. The film became known for a tavern scene with spectacularly fast montage, where everything seems to turn around the drinking and dancing Kean, and a 15-minute death scene that Mosjoukine played with plenty of nuance.

FEU MATHIAS PASCAL (The Late Mathias Pascal, Marcel L'Herbier, F 1925, 7.3.) "Inspired by Pirandello, directed by Marcel L'Herbier, assisted by Cavalcanti to whom we owe the film's sets, and interpreted by the actor Mosjukin, author of several exceptional films…, we don't know what to admire most," wrote Henri Langlois. This eccentric Pirandello adaptation alternates comedy and tragedy, reality and fantasy to tell the story of the young dreamer Mathias Pascal (Mosjoukine) who feels trapped by his wife and stepmother and his existence as a small town assistant librarian. He escapes to Monte Carlo where he wins a huge fortune. Upon his return, he discovers his own obituary and makes the most of this mistake to begin a new life in Rome. He falls in love with the daughter of his landlord who holds spiritual sittings and is exploited by a gang of criminals that is after his money. The clumsy friend is played by Michel Simon in one of his first roles. (al)

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur