Independenta Romaniei (1912)
Director: Aristide Demetriade
It’s remarkable enough that there was even a film camera in Romania in 1912, never mind someone with the resources and wherewithal to make and distribute a historical epic. The language barrier was minimal, since intertitles were used very sparingly, with long sequences introduced with only a few words, which I could often guess at from my knowledge of romance languages generally. There is no camera movement at all, and so far as I can recall the only medium shot was close to the beginning, where we see a peasant girl tearfully saying goodbye to her lover when he enters the army. Otherwise, the entire film was shot in wide angles, most shots being images of a battlefield, on which we watch the armies advance, fight, and retreat. There is no real effort to isolate characters or tell personal stories, although the high-ranking officers on both sides are named in the credits. This was clearly intended as a nationalist propaganda film, and it must have been reasonably successful or we wouldn’t have it around today, but for modern viewers it is mostly a curiosity piece.
You can watch it for free: here
Run time: 82min (note: this may be a cut version, since wikipedia lists it at possibly 120 min)
[…] 25-year-span of the movies I’ve reviewed. We go from simple experiments in showing motion to epic feature films in just that time. Imagine working in an industry in which standards and expectations are […]