The Sea Speaks: Short Films by Jean Epstein

Archival Prints!

  • Introduction

    Keller, assistant professor of art and cinema studies at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, is coeditor of the collection Jean Epstein: Critical Essays and New Translations.

Epstein’s innovative tone poem, Le tempestaire, looks at superstition as one way Breton villagers cope with the constant fear that the sea will claim its young men. Epstein sets up a dichotomy between pragmatism (in a confident fisherman) and superstition (his worried girlfriend). The sea will decide, and Epstein controls that too, through brilliant editing. Mor’Vran, the best known of Epstein’s Breton films, is also his most anthropological. By simply enacting their daily lives the people of Isle de Sein help him tell a slight story of loss and survival. As always, the poetry is in Epstein’s vision, but here he lets his craft take a backseat to the craft of living. JUDY BLOCH

Films in this Screening

Mor'Vran
(The Sea of Ravens)

Jean Epstein, France, 1930

FILM DETAILS 
Language
  • French
  • with English electronic titling
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 26 mins
source
  • Cinémathèque française

Le tempestaire
(The Storm Master)

Jean Epstein, France, 1947

FILM DETAILS 
Language
  • French
  • with English electronic titling
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 23 mins
source
  • Cinémathèque française

Le feux de la mer
(The Fires of the Sea)
(Lights That Never Fail)

Jean Epstein, France, 1948

FILM DETAILS 
Language
  • French
  • with English electronic titling
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 20 mins
source
  • Les Documents Cinématographiques