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Finis Terrae

Visionary filmmaker Jean Epstein blends documentary authenticity with rich cinematic invention in this subtly homoerotic tale that echoes Cult Gala The Lighthouse.

Dir Jean Epstein
France
1929
80min
Prod Co Société Générale de Films

On a tiny island off Brittany two young men eke out a living by harvesting seaweed to burn for prized soda. When one of them cuts his thumb and an infection sets in, it challenges the boundaries of their relationship and galvanises the neighbouring community. Jean Epstein’s timeless narrative about survival in extremis is underpinned by avant-garde techniques and deeply resonant images, such as the recurrent lighthouse or the sight of women sheltering by rocks like giant black birds. Even without sound you can almost hear the ocean. This is a film about the possibilities of cinema and anyone thinking of picking up a camera should watch and be inspired.

Robin Baker

Additional information

Restored in 4K in 2019 by Gaumont in collaboration with the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image animée at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory from the negative held at Cinémathèque française.

Live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne

+ The First Foot

Voices from the past echo through the deserted, snow-covered stone houses in a village in the Caucasus Mountains.

Dir Goderdzi Chokheli. Georgia 1981. 14min

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