To complement the exhibition The Angel of the Odd, the Musée d'Orsay is organising a festival of the masters of Scandinavian silent films: Victor Sjöström (1879-1960), Mauritz Stiller (1883-1928) and Benjamin Christensen (1879-1959), to be screened in the nave. These films highlight the legends, fantasy and melodrama in their work.
A whole new area of fantasy cinema was invented in these films through the representation of ghosts, demons, and even the Devil himself. Their formal qualities also helped create the supernatural atmosphere: the contrast between light and shade plays a central role along with the use of double exposure to evoke spirits, spectres or hallucinations. Melodrama tips over into a form of dream world, a madness, or a darkness reminiscent of the Gothic novel.
Through their visual artistry, their feeling for the supernatural and their fascination with the elements of nature, these three directors continue the rich tradition of Nordic imagery, pictorial and yet inspired by literature, in particular by the works of Selma Lagerlöf, Henrik Ibsen and Herman Bang.
With thanks to:
Danish Film Institute, Swedish Film Institute, La Cineteca del Friuli, Festival International de la Rochelle, Fondazione Cineteca Italiana, George Eastman House, SOFTITRAGE, UCLA Film & Television Archive