Saturday, February 2, 2013

Les Halles Centrales (1927)

WHO: Boris Kaufman, best known as a cinematographer who worked under Jean Vigo and Abel Gance in France, then under Elia Kazan and Sidney Lumet in the United States.

WHAT: This 22-minute film about Paris's largest market provides the only directorial credit I'm aware of for the younger brother of Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman, who respectively were the director and title figure of the Soviet classic Man With A Movie Camera, which this film precedes historically.

WHERE/WHEN: Screens at 6:00 tonight at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley.

WHY: Les Halles Centrales is set to be the very first film screened in the newest PFA series, On Location In Silent Cinema. This series takes viewers from Paris to Shanghai, from Northern Sweden to Azerbaijan (standing in for South America), and from the jungles of Nan Province on the border of Thailand and Laos, to the grand landscapes of Arizona and California, under the guidance of directors like Victor Sjöström, Abram Room, and the far-flung duo of Merian C. Cooper & Ernest Schoedsack. Each evening of screenings is introduced by a film scholar, and tonight it's one of the series curators, Patrick Ellis. It's all a prelude to a fascinating-sounding three-day academic conference on silent cinema later in the month. But you don't have to be a scholar to enjoy a silent film with Judith Rosenberg performing the piano accompaniment.

Note that it is physically possible, though perhaps not sensible, to attend this screening and also catch all three films in today's Cornell Woolrich triple-bill at Noir City.

HOW: Preceding the feature-length city symphony Études sur Paris, both showing in 35mm prints from CNC.


  1. Well worth the trip tonight. Patrick Ellis did a superb intro and Judith Rosenberg's impressionistic Debussy like score brought the lovely photography of Etudes Sur Paris to life. If any of you missed the Halles, it's available for streaming on Europa Film Treasures.

  2. Thanks for the tip! Here's the Europa Film Trasures link!