Menilmontant (Kirsanoff, 1926)

I am teaching a seminar entitled “Global Silent Cinema” next semester.  This course will introduce students to the eccentricities and complexities of cinema’s first three decades. Each week will be guided by a different concept (e.g. language, narrative, the archive, etc.).

I am just starting to make my way through a long list of possible films for the course.  I recently rescreened Ménilmontant, Dmitri Kirsanoff’s intertitle-less short from 1926, and made a first pass at gathering together the work that’s been done on the film.  Much of this writing focuses on the film’s experimental narrative form.  Richard Abel argues that the film is structured by series of losses and substitutions. Richard Prouty pivots from this claim to read the film’s spatial and narrative economies: Continue reading