Week 10/2023

The annual Classics Restored Festival is entering its second week. From its treasure trove of recently restored films, we’d like to highlight Dolgie Provody [The Long Farewell] (Kira Muratova, 1971) and Chikamatsu monogatari [The Crucified Lovers] (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954). And to close this week’s selection, a special screening of White Epilepsy (2012) by Philippe Grandrieux.

Although shot as early as 1971, Dolgie Provody [The Long Farewell], Kira Muratova’s second feature film, was withheld by Soviet censors for nearly two decades, only to be finally released into circulation at the time of perestroika in 1987. Calling her film an “exercise in editing” in Cahiers du Cinéma, Muratova’s films are deeply rooted in the work of montage. “If you start editing as early as I do, at a certain moment you know all the material by heart. In bed at night, you continue editing. Like a chess player who has the chessboard constantly in mind, even while sleeping.” The film was the subject of Claudio Pazienza’s State of Cinema in 2019. He praised the intimate language that runs throughout her work, describing it as: “an écriture that minutely analyses an era, the end of a world. An écriture that sees.”

On Sunday, Kenji Mizoguchi’s Chikamatsu monogatari [The Crucified Lovers], one of the films closing the festival at Buda, tells the tale of forbidden love struggling to survive in the face of persecution. Contrary to Muratova, Mizoguchi’s film style was indebted to the art of mise-en-scène. Jacques Rivette: “If music is a universal idiom, then the same goes for mise-en-scène: it is this language that should be learned to understand ‘Mizoguchi’, not Japanese.” Asked the question what he understood mise-en-scène to be, Mizoguchi replied: “It’s man! One must try to express man adequately.”

On the occasion of Philippe Grandrieux’s new staging of Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner at Opera Ballet Vlaanderen this month, Cinema Cartoon’s in Antwerp shows Grandrieux’s White Epilepsy on Sunday. Two of his other films, La vie nouvelle (2002) and Un lac (2009), will also be screened in the next weeks.

This Week