Cinematic spiritualism

Resurrecting the unfinished, the abandoned and the lost.

by Anne-Katrin Titze

Keyhole's master locksmith Guy Maddin's Séances or Spiritismes project, the incomparable resurrection of 100 unfinished, abandoned, and lost silent films began on February 22, 2012 at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. He directed 18 short films in front of a live audience with an alluring cast that included Charlotte Rampling, Geraldine Chaplin, Maria de Medeiros, Mathieu Demy, Udo Kier, and Mathieu Amalric. Luce Vigo, daughter of Jean Vigo acted in Lines Of The Hand, the spirited channeling of her father's unrealised movie. The filming of the Parisian leg concluded 20 days later on March 12.

Guy Maddin's Séances at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
Guy Maddin's Séances at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

Another 12 short films in 13 days are in the process of coming to life at the Phi Centre, Montréal right now till July 20. The installation will eventually be transformed also into a film and an interactive work. The public is invited to attend these séances of "cinematic spiritualism".

In response to an inquiry by me on the project, Guy, before dashing off to the set this morning at the Phi Centre explained the two titles: "Séances is a continuation of what started out as Spiritismes in Paris last year and will continue next year in a few other cities. The project is called Séances and will end up as a website viewing experience in about a year."

Alfred Hitchcock to F.W. Murnau, from Ernst Lubitsch to Kenji Mizoguchi, the directors' unrealized plans are Maddin's springboard to enable what could have been but never was.

Cinema, in itself the art form of the eternal return, receives with this project - in another turn of the screw - an added dimension. Maddin's Séances are the enlightened variety of 3D. While what returns did not exist in the first place, this grand endeavour, maybe even more importantly, makes you appreciate all the masterpieces that do exist on celluloid, all light and visitation for our pleasure and illumination. With each Mountain Eagle lost and each Oyster Princess rescued, thoughts of fate and talk of trance, the Séances have but one objective - a celebration of cinema.

Anne-Katrin Titze with Guy Maddin.
Anne-Katrin Titze with Guy Maddin. Photo: Lee Meltzer

The following were shot at Centre Pompidou, Paris, February 22 - March 12, 2012.

Dream Woman (lost Alice Guy movie, 1914, USA)

Thérèse Raquin [or Shadows of Fear] (lost, Jacques Feyder, 1928, Germany)

Gardener Boy Sought (lost, George Schnéevoigt, 1913, Denmark)

Poto-Poto (unrealised, Erich von Stroheim project)

Rausch [Intoxication] (lost, Ernst Lubitsch, 1919, Germany)

The Strength of a Moustache (lost, Mikio Naruse, 1931, Japan)

Lines of the Hand (unrealised, Jean Vigo)

Over Barbed Wire (unrealised, Aleksandr Dovzhenko, USSR)

Fist of a Cripple (lost, Tetos Dimitriadis, 1930, Greece)

Blue Mountains Mystery (lost, Lottie Lyell, 1921, Australia)

Idle Wives (lost, Lois Weber, 1916)

Resurrection of Love (lost, Kenji Mizoguchi, 1923, Japan)

Tararira (lost, Benjamin Fondane, 1936, Argentina)

Bits of Life (lost, Lon Chaney, Sr. & Anna May Wong, 1921, USA)

Ladies of the Mob (lost William Wellman)

Hello Pop! (lost, Jack Cummings, 1933, USA)

Sperduto nel buio [Lost in the Dark] (lost, Nino Martoglio, 1914, Italy)

The Blind Man (Alfred Hitchcock, unrealised)

Share this with others on...
News

Director puts femmes to the fore Martin Provost on Juliette Binoche, gender divisions and revolution

Stay-At-Home Seven: November 23 to 30 - Streaming and TV suggestions Gems to watch on streaming services and TV for the coming week

Dreams of reality Jason Neulander on perception, reality and breaking the rules in his debut Fugitive Dreams

Streaming Spotlight - Icelandic cinema We're heading north for our watch-at-home selection this week

Electric dreams Marc Collin on Le Choc Du Futur and celebrating female pioneers

Catalan Film Festival announces hybrid line-up Scottish Spanish showcase runs from November 19 to December

More news and features

We're bringing you news, reviews and interviews from Tallinn Black Nights and DOC NYC.



We've recently been covering Sheffield DocFest, the London Korean Film Festival, Welsh horror festival Abertoir, New York's Newfest, the October edition of Frightfest, the Scottish Queer International Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival, Manchester's Grimmfest and the San Sebastian Film Festival.



Read our full for more.


Visit our festivals section.

Interact

More competitions coming soon.