Coffret Jean Epstein: Chez Albatros, Premiere vague, Poemes Bretons
Jean Epstein died 60 years ago in April 1953. Poet, filmmaker, philosopher, he leaves considerable work which has, perhaps, never generated as much excitement and initiatives until today. Yet it remains largely unknown, perhaps because of the diversity of its puzzling work, unclassifiable, very modern, inexhaustible source of inspiration for many filmmakers who succeeded him. He was alternately author of avant-garde, art house films, the "blockbusters" or maritime fiction documentaries.

Discover the newly restored work of Jean Epstein, a unique journey between avant-garde and popular drama. One the most inventive and singular filmmaker of his era, that we can now fully appreciate with one of the greatest and useful box set.

This DVD set includes 14 films, most of which have been preserved and restored by the French Cinematheque.
The set is divided in three parts: Chez Albatros ("At Albatros", the russian studios based in Montreuil during the 20’s), Premiere vague ("First Wave", from Epstein's independant production company) and Poemes Bretons ("Breton Poems", the late work and a return to the origins).

8 x DVD | PAL 4:3 | 945 minutes | 49 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Francais
Subtitles: English
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Horror, Short, Documentary, Silent

Coffret Jean Epstein: Chez Albatros

Coffret Jean Epstein: Chez Albatros / Jean Epstein Box Set: At Albatros (1924 - 1925) 3 x DVD9


Le lion des Mogols / The Lion of the Moguls (1924)
In the kingdom of the Moguls, Prince Roudghito-Sing, a young officer of the palace, falls in love with Zemgali, a captive princess held prisoner and coveted by the Grand Khan. Fleeing the country, he takes refuge in Paris and his presentability allows him to be hired as an actor by a French film company. The trouble is that Anna, the star of the movie, is attracted to him. Which displeases banker Morel, the producer and Anna's lover...

-- Optional presentation of main feature by a film scholar (French only, no subtitles)
-- Decryptage d'affiche, an interview with Jacques Ayroles, about Albatros and the conception of the film's poster by Boris Bilinsky. (6 min.) (French only, no subtitles)


Le double amour / Double Love (1925)
Jean Angelo is a degenerate gambler. His losses at baccarat have bankrupted his lover, Nathalie Lissenko. When he steals four hundred thousand francs and loses that at the gambling tables, he flees to the United States, and Nathalie takes the blame. Twenty years later, she has a flourishing career as a night club singer, but their son is just as inept a gambler as his father had been.

-- Optional presentation of main feature by a film scholar (French only, no subtitles)
-- Revenir a Epstein ("Coming back to Epstein"), an interview with Eric Thouvenel (10 min.) (French only, no subtitles)


Les aventures de Robert Macaire / The Adventures of Robert Macaire (1925)
The adventures of Robert Macaire, a strange gentleman criminal from the French popular culture.

-- Optional presentation of main feature by a film scholar (French only, no subtitles)

Coffret Jean Epstein: Premiere vague

Coffret Jean Epstein: Premiere vague / Jean Epstein Box Set: First Wave (1926 - 1928) 2 x DVD9


Mauprat (1926)
Mauprat was adapted by Jean Epstein from a novel of the famous novelist George Sand.
A nobleman named Bernard Mauprat, raised by a violent gang of his feudal kinsmen after the death of his mother, becomes a brutalized "enfant sauvage". When his cousin Edmee is held captive by Bernard's family, he helps her escape, but elicits a promise of marriage from her.

La chute de la maison Usher / The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)
Roderick Usher is obsessed with painting a portrait of his dying wife Madeline, aware that as his work progresses, so his wife's condition deteriorates. She eventually dies, but returns from the grave to save Roderick...
Although it's far from being a faithful adaptation of Poe, this remains a quite remarkable and creepy film.

-- Optional presentation of each movie by a film scholar (French only, no subtitles)
-- 2 score options for The Fall of the House of Usher (G. Thibaudeau with "L'octuor de France" vs "Joakim")


La glace a trois faces / The Three-Sided Mirror (1927)
Three very different women are anxiously awaiting the return of their lover and, as they do so, they re-live their recent happiness with him. Pearl, an English society lady, is swept of her feet by the elegant young financier, but all too soon his love for her turns cold. A strong-willed Russian sculptress, Athalia, is his next victim. Finally, an ordinary working class girl succumbs to his charms. Instead of keeping his appointment with his three lovers, the heartless young Don Giovanni decides instead to spend the day alone in Deauville, driving his brand new sports car.

Six et demi onze / 6 1/2 x 11 / Six and a half by eleven (1927)
Female infidelity leads a man, Jean, to commit suicide. When he is dead his brother, Jerome, starts having an affair with the same woman, Mary. But... there is a photography left of her first brother, who the second is getting closer to finding - hence the title (6,5 X 11 - an film negative format).

-- Optional presentation of each movie by a film scholar (French only, no subtitles)
-- 2 score options for both The Three-sided Mirror (Stephen Horne vs "Aufgang") and Six et demi, onze (Stephen Horne vs "Krikor")
-- Corps et desir chez Epstein, an interview with Christophe Wall-Romana (7 min.) (French only, no subtitles)
-- Alternate ending of Six et demi, onze: the producer's editing.

Coffret Jean Epstein: Poemes Bretons

Coffret Jean Epstein: Poemes Bretons / Jean Epstein Box Set: Breton Poems (1928 - 1948) 2 x DVD9 + DVD5


Finis terrae (1929)
Finis Terrae is a visual poem with a simple story: four algae collectors are trapped on an island and at a later time are rescued by their neighbors. This very interesting film has a rhythm in its narrative and it's lit in harsh natural way, which perfectly reflects the artistic intentions of the French director.

Chanson d'Armor (1934)
Ballad-type drama-documentary spoken in the Breton language and set in a Breton fishing community, telling of the impossible love between a fisherman and the lady of the manor.

Les berceaux (1931)
A "cinegraphique" adaptation of a Gabriel Faure melody, with a poem by Sully Prudhomme.

-- Optional presentation of each movie by a film scholar (French only, no subtitles)
-- Meteorologie, an interview with Viva Paci (7 min.) (French only, no subtitles)


L'or des mers (1932)
An old man, the last, lonely and wretched person of an island, despised by everyone around, finds a strange box which might contain a treasure. The villagers become friendly but their kindness is only a facade.

Mor vran / La mer des corbeaux / The Sea of Ravens (1931)
Documentary about "l'ile d'Ouessant", also named the "Island of Terror".

Le tempestaire / The Storm-Tamer / The Tempest: Poem on the Sea (1947)
A young woman fears for her boyfriend as he decides to sail out right before a big storm. Despite everyone's efforts to calm her down, she feels ominous about the whole thing and refuses to let go of her anxiety. As the seas rise and the wind howls, she eventually searches for help from the "Tempestaire" (Tempest-tamer) who settles the sea and (instantaneously) brings the boyfriend home.

Les feux de la mer (1948)
Documentary film shot in Brittany about lighthouses and lighthouse keepers on the island of Ouessant and coast of Finistere.

-- Optional presentation of each movie by a film scholar (French only, no subtitles)
-- Interview with Bruno Dumont (30 min.) (French only, no subtitles)
-- Interview with Leon Rousseau (13 min.) (French only, no subtitles)


Jean Epstein, Young Oceans of Cinema (2011)
A film-essay on Epstein.

-- Interview with director James Schneider (15 min.) (French only, no subtitles)

Related posts:

  1. Ma nuit chez Maud / My Night at Maud’s (1969) DVD9
  2. The Complete Jean Vigo: A Propos de Nice (1930), Taris (1931), Zero de conduite (1933), L’Atalante (1934) 2 x DVD9 and Blu-Ray Criterion Collection
  3. Early Murnau – Five Films 1921-1925: Schloss Vogelod (1921), Phantom (1922), Der letzte Mann (1924), Die Finanzen des Grossherzogs (1924), Herr Tartuff (1925) 3 x Blu-Ray Eureka! – Masters of Cinema
  4. Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (1924) + Kriemhilds Rache / Kriemhild’s Revenge (1924) 2 x DVD9 and 2 x Blu-Ray Eureka – Masters of Cinema
  5. Avant Garde – Experimental Cinema of the 1920s & 1930s 2 x DVD9