Brumes d’automne

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 18, 2015

If you’re not careful you might get caught up on the surface, and miss the substance. You might conclude that a cine-poem is something that has lots of water in it. Leaves area also an option, especially of the falling variety. This is certainly true of the late 20s, or of Kino Video’s important collections of avant garde films. Digging a little deeper, poetic cinema could very much be related to conventional narrative material, but it also provided an important alternative or deepening because of the parts that it selected, or emphasized. For instance there is plot, but it tends to be presented elliptically. The plot is explored, but not through performance and blocking and other such theatrical things. Rather, it is visualized, elliptically, or impressionistically. We get characters, and cutaways, mostly to objects or atmospherics that bear some symbolic, metaphorical relation to the more concrete matters. That’s definitely poetical, definitely going on here.

Another option, as further explored in this film, is that plot, which progresses, is replaced by exclusively attending to one point along the narrative spectrum, or trajectory. That single point is appearing to be Kirsanoff’s great subject, which is that Ms. Sibirskaia has been romantically ill-used, and is now desponding unto despair. There was a bit of sociology in the way that Menilmontant explored this situation. This later film, featuring a more prosperous individual, and stripped of exposition or context, is more elliptical and allusive, as well as being exclusively psychological, or soap operatic. She is quite lovely, and most expressive. As for the film in which she’s appearing, we’ve got more artisanal (as opposed to large scale, industrial) virtuosity, extremely expressive imagery and quite exquisite juxtapositions. A tonic, this stuff.