Avant-garde working-class melodramas
in Jean Epstein
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This chapter describes the social aspect of Jean Epstein's photogénie, to understand how it represents an implicit programme and informs the narrative and stylistic choices of his early fiction films in the 1920s. Epstein's film production in the early 1920s centres on melodramas and literary adaptations. Epstein's particular position in the early 1920s as one attempting to combine avant-garde aesthetics with working-class melodrama to craft a new form of social realism. Epstein was very well aware of the broad spectrum of the melodrama ranging from psychophysiological catharsis to ideological formation, and from the appeal of identification to the enlargement of social rights. Shot from a scenario Epstein wrote himself over the course of one night, and indeed the plot is utterly simple, Coeur fidèle is a triangular melodrama.

Jean Epstein

Corporeal cinema and film philosophy

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