Gustav Machatý, 1929

Film at Filmový přehled


The silent "love drama in seven parts" Erotikon, made by Gustav Machatý in 1928-29, was to help the filmmaker achieve international fame. The scandalous film was so eagerly anticipated that it was sold abroad before its completion. Its "cosmopolitan" character and ambitions were confirmed by the international cast, led by Slovenian beauty queen Ita Rina. - The theme in the form of a "film manuscript" of Virginity was written by Vítězslav Nezval. He is not mentioned in the credits, however, because he feared conflict with his colleagues from the avant-garde association Devětsil, which opposed the collaboration of its members with filmmakers. Although the "seduced and abandoned" woman later marries a noble, wealthy and settled man out of gratitude, she almost succumbs to the treacherous lover again. Only in the end does she realise that "fickle loves will never give a woman the happiness that the quiet haven of marriage provides" - Eroticon is a similarly pioneering work in form to the director's most famous film, Extase (1932), which it anticipates in theme. Although Machatý had not yet ventured into scenes as "outrageous" as those in Extase, he did, however, touch upon themes that had been tabooed until then with aesthetic means of expression and "strong erotic inventiveness". This makes the story, as if borrowed from the Red Library, still an exceptional work (although mainly thanks to the first twenty minutes; the rest is more amenable to the schemes of the monotonous salon dramas about infidelity). The compositionally ingenious shots, the details of the melting faces, the suggestive lighting contrasts or the captivating use of visual symbols (the fusion of two raindrops on the window at the moment when the lovers have a sexual act) and the dynamic montage are proof of the directorial and cinematographic mastery that made Erotikon a work of world importance. - The film did not officially premiere in Prague until 3 January 1930 (it was first shown in Karlovy Vary on 27 February 1929). The distributor Slaviafilm speculatively waited almost a year to release it, but by the time it was released to theaters, the metropolis was already intoxicated by the wave of sound films. Despite glowing reviews at home, the reception of the film was not as expected, and even its additional soundtrack, which was added three years later, did not meet with a significant response. - In 1993, the film was restored and technically restored. The nitrate print, which the National Film Archive bought from collector Milan Wolf in 1989, is four hundred metres longer than the other available versions. The original music by Erno Košt'ál, illustrating the sound version of the 1933 film, has not survived. After its release on DVD by Filmexport Home Video (premiere on 10 May 2007), the film was re-released on 13 January 2011 by the Association of Czech Film Clubs as part of Project 100-2011, with a new score by FORMA + Cafe Industrial. A CD with the soundtrack was included in the box with the film, but live accompaniment could also be ordered.
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Film data

About a film

Production year 1929
Countries Czechoslovakia
Categories film
Genres drama, psychological
Form feature
Duration 85 min
Director Gustav Machatý
Cast Karel Schleichert, Ita Rina, Olaf Fjord, Theodor Pištěk, Charlotte Susa
Director of photography Václav Vích
Screenplay Gustav Machatý, Otto Rádl, Emanuel Železný, Erich Eisner
Editor E. B. White
Production designer Julius von Borsody, Alexander Hackenschmied, J. Machoň
Music Erno Košťál, Jan Klusák
Sound designer Otto Németh