"Destiny"

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Ralph
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"Destiny"

Post by Ralph » Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:06 pm

Tonight the Jacob Burns Film Center presented Fritz Lang's 1921 masterpiece, "Destiny," with a live accompaniment by Ben Model. Model is also the accompanist for silent films at MoMa and he composed the music for tonight. He was great!

"Destiny," which runs for about 99 minutes, is about a young couple, deeply in love who are in a town where a mysterious stranger, the cinema forerunner of Ingmar Bergman's hit devil in "The Seventh Seal," has set up shop in a walled garden the entrance to which only he knows.

The girl's fiance disappears and to her horror she sees him as an apparition, together with many others, shuffle wordlessly through the solid wall of the Stranger's shop. Somehow she gets in and is given a guided tour by this weary archangel of death who explains he's tired of his job but has no alternatives. He shows her a huge number of long candles, all lit. When a candle goes out, so does the life of the person it represents. She begs for her lover's resurrection and the functionary agrees if she can avert the death of at least one of three men. There then follows three elaborate scenes ranging from a caliph's palace to a Chinese emperor's castle to a Venetian carnival. In each case the woman, now the femme fatale, schemes to rescue her beloved from death only to be thwarted at the last moment.

Despondent she returns to her village where Death offers her a last deal - find a substitute for your fiance and he'll be back. A fire ensues and she makes the wrenching decision to rescue and save a little baby rather than get her buddy back. Of course this moves even Death and the movie ends with the young man brought back to life and love.

Many silent film buffs rate "Destiny" higher than Lang's "Metropolis." I don't agree but this is a very fine film with the use of dissolving images, a technique hardly in general use in 1921. I hope I can see a few more of the films in this Fritz Lang retrospective which ends next week.
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stenka razin
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Re: "Destiny"

Post by stenka razin » Sun Sep 21, 2008 5:12 am

Ralph, I am familiar with 'Metropolis', but not 'Destiny'. You have made me want to see it. Thank you for the enlightening info. :D
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