Legacy Review

Ménilmontant (1926)

An impressionist masterpiece of composition, editing, and poetic suggestion. Opening with an axe murder that is stunning in its visceral horror (especially considering it happens off camera and the film’s era), the movie then shifts to the emotional fallout of the violence. Two sisters, the daughters of the murdered couple, get caught in a love triangle that derails both their lives.

The film suggests a link between violence and sexuality in a cycle of unhealed trauma. Moments of flashback (or perhaps imagination) blend with reality in rapid cuts and double exposure, giving the experience a hallucinatory feel.

The very final act of violence felt detached from everything that preceded it for me. But there’s no question this is visual poetry (without intertitles!) crafted in masterful form.

Is It Good?

Exceptionally Good (7/8)

Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.

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