This is probably one of the most interesting movies I have ever seen. Also, one of the most artistic.
It is also a little bit tragic, because this movie is incomplete. There is not a single version of this film that is complete. There were so many breakaways with descriptions of what should be happening It's sad really. Also considering how different versions of the film were presented in different areas. For example, the movie was cut in America by 1/4 and some of the story slightly changed. So, watching this, you don't really know what story you are seeing: the original or something that was pieced together as best it could be. Although it must be somewhat close to what was intended, because the original screenplay does survive, along with other documents about the film as well as the score.
There is so much to this film that transcends the story. I mean, the story is good. Essentially, it is about a young, niave playboy who learns of the unfair conditions of the workers from a saintlike young woman and tries to help. Its a little more complicated than that, but you get the jist. The acting is typical silent film acting: much over-gesturing and gnashing of teeth. But I will say that I admire their ability to do that with realistic intentions. There is an entire scene where a man drops to his knees with his hands clutching at his head. And he holds that the entire time. The gesture being held that long is a little fake, but the actor is there 100%. Realistic or not, you can believe him in the moment. This is a gift of acting that I never had. I admire it.
There is also a sections with an exotic dancer which I am sure all men continue to oogle at. Which brings me to another side note: Maria of the film ...
The music is amazing; the design is fantastic; the special effects and the tricks of the camera and art are unbelievable. This movie is quite the gem, and its interesting to see something like this in modern day.
Also, I should mention that a version of this movie is included in the Memory of the World Register. Talk about saving culture - this is an international collection of things (documents, films, photos, etc) that humans have deemed significant enough to preserve in case anything should ever happen to us. Amazing, huh?
4 out of 5 stars