Best of… Series – 1923 – Coeur fidèle

Coeur fidele (Jean Epstein, 1923)

Never before have I seen editing create emotions the way Epstein does here. Jean waits for Marie at the docks after failing to rescue her from the man she will marry – a man she fears. Jean pictures Marie’s face as it fades in and out, double-exposed over the sea. The rippling of the waves and the sorrow in Marie’s eyes cause the scene to float, almost seeming as it would continue endlessly.

In what seems like a different world, Marie is taken away by the man she fears to the carnival. The images appear, cut to another, re-appear, and repeat quickly and violently. Marie sits on a ride, desperation spilling from her face, leaning so far from the man she fears that a dangerous tumble almost seems like it would be a pleasant alternative.

A year passes and Jean notices Marie from a distance, holding a baby. Her expression still holds fear, but as she gathers the baby’s fingers between her lips for a gentle kiss, it is obvious she has reason to continue her fight. Jean and Marie’s story is told brilliantly through montages, close-ups, and  passionate (though subtle) acting. The world they live in feels close, personal, and often scary. It’s a dream and a nightmare all in one.  9.75/10

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2 Responses to “Best of… Series – 1923 – Coeur fidèle”

  1. This looks absolutely great — I’ve NEVER heard of the director…

    • I’ve heard of him, but I don’t know why. This is the first I’ve seen from him. I’ll definitely be seeking more though.

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