Limite (1931)

Limite has shown me my seemingly limitless capabilities of procrastination. The prospect of reviewing this visual puzzle unnerved me. Compounded, no doubt, by its praise as the Un Chien Andalou of Latino Cinema. Buñuel’s short is purposefully and immediately surreal. An eye sliced by a straight razor. Hands crawling with ants. Impossible geography. Limite is a […]

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City Lights (1931)

A World War shaped a generation, a tyrant was rising in Germany, the Wall Street Crash ushered in a Great Depression, and prohibition gave rise to wider organised crime. The progressive touch of the twentieth century reached across the globe and altered everything in its path… except for the Little Tramp who waddled back in […]

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Pandora’s Box (1929)

First, Betty Compson smouldered in the misty Docks of New York as she rumbled the hero’s world, but without an ounce of malicious intent. Brigitte Helm drew the panting men of the dizzying Metropolis with her apocalyptic dance. But this was only a machine double of the virtuous heroine. Pandora’s Box presents a whole other […]

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Man With A Movie Camera (1929)

Man With a Movie Camera is one of those illustrious classics you hear of long before knowing what it is. Sight and Sound magazine places Dziga Vertov’s picture as the eighth greatest of all time, IMDB rates it at 8.4, and Roger Ebert awards an outstanding four stars. By many others, it is voted as […]

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A Throw of Dice (1929)

Vicarious exploration is easy to take for granted when the entire world is visible at the touch of a button. For many years, and especially in 1929 when this picture was released, cinema held the distinction beyond static photographs and restricted phonographs of transporting audiences to alien landscapes through living images. Franz Osten was one […]

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The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

Cinema has many synonyms; Film from the mode of capture, movies from the magic of motion, Flicks from projector inefficiency, and Pictures. The maxim ‘Show don’t tell’, integral today, was imperative in the silent cinematic age. Filmmakers sought communication outside of explanative title cards, discovering narrative capabilities of mise-en-scene, camerawork and, most directly, actor expression. […]

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The Crowd (1928)

Individuality is a need we all strive for in some capacity. Some find contentment with praise of a close knit circle, others want applause of the entire world. Music, film, art, literature and the internet are grand stages to perform uniqueness. But increasingly, these platforms become suffocated as people aggressively shove for space, trample over […]

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Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928)

Buster Keaton faced two crippling calamities in his professional life; the first was out of his power, the second he caused. The former was the advent of sound relentlessly weeding out the unadaptable, the latter was signing with MGM which Keaton stated was ‘the biggest mistake of my life’. This new contract left the perfectionist […]

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Storm Over Asia (1928)

Backed by ideological parties and expressing a subjective view with an aim of inflaming or informing, Russian Montage Theorists films do not engage with politics, they ARE politics. Righteous preaching of a dead ideology can be tiresome, but these films survive, much like Triumph Of Will, because they were forged by master filmmakers. Chaotic action, […]

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The Docks of New York (1928)

The phrase ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ succinctly characterises film in the first quarter of the 20th century. A combination of ingenuity and requirement to tell better stories founded techniques we witness every time we enter the cinema. However, not every film can invent or reinvent rules. Instead, some pictures are exemplary examples of […]

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