If you are a fan of obscure foreign silent films, Team Gregula has one for you - Jean Grémillon’s The Lighthouse Keepers (Gardiens de phare). This film is not too well known outside of France and thanks to a film collector from Japan, we had a chance to view this fascinating work on the big screen at Chicago's Music Box Theatre.
The film begins with various images such as surf crashing against the rocks, a woman's hand waving a hanky, boats sailing on the sea, setting a contrast between the sunny village life of women in tall bonnets waiting for their men to come home from the harsh existence of working in an isolated lighthouse. A young couple Marie & Yvon (Genica Athanasiou & Geymond Vital) enjoy their last moments together before the man leaves for a month cooped up in a distant lighthouse with his father (Paul Victor Fromet). Life as a lighthouse keeper starts out well enough but the movie takes a dark turn as unfortunately it turns out that Yvon was bitten by a rabid dog. This causes him to go mad with the illness while his father can only watch in terror.
The film’s dark and eerie lighthouse scenes contrast with the sunny village scenes and the atmosphere was enhanced by the amazing live organ accompaniment at the Music Box. Da Count and I thoroughly enjoyed this classic piece of cinematic art and give it **FOUR FANGS UP**.
Production Year: 1929
Country of Origin: France
Run Time: 73 mins
A screening of The Lighthouse Keepers will take place at the Music Box Theatre as part of their SILENT CINEMA AT THE MUSIC BOX series on Saturday July 21st at 11:30 AM. Click HERE to purchase tickets.
The Music Box Theatre is located at 3733 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60613.
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