Lyrical Nitrate

(Lyrisch Nitraat)

Lecture/screening class (3 hours). Special admission applies.

  • The International Film Archive Movement

    BAMPFA Senior Film Curator Susan Oxtoby 

This compilation of rare film fragments dating from 1905 to 1915 is a paean to the subtle colors and shimmering luminescence of tinted nitrate stock, celebrating the aesthetic possibilities of a famously fragile and fleeting medium. This is an emotional approach to film history, an investigation of mood that is only enhanced by traces of decay and disintegration. In a period often associated with “slapstick and honky-tonk,” as director Peter Delpeut says, he seeks “the melodrama, the romance, the lyricism.” His obvious pleasure in the early filmmakers’ mastery of mise-en-scène, color and lighting, acting and gesticulation is infectious, intimate, and inviting: like the best of film historians, he asks us to take this old film material anew. The soundtrack is taken from old recordings, ranging from Caruso to the thin but insistent sounds of a glass harmonica.  

Judy Bloch
  • Peter Delpeut
  • Dutch
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W/Color
  • DCP
  • 50 mins
  • Eye Film Institute