Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Abyss (1910)

Afgrunden
Director: Urban Gad
Denmark 1910
37 min

The Abyss is a Danish silent film starring one of the first international movie actresses, Asta Nielsen. (In Germany she was known as simply "Die Asta".) Her naturalistic acting style differed from the melodramatic acting most of the early movie actors used since working on stage. The erotic nature of most of her characters and the sensualism of her acting caused that she was heavily censored in the United States.



In the beginning of the movie Magda Vang (Nielsen) meets a nice man, Knud Svane (Robert Dinesen), riding a streetcar, and they quickly fall in love with each other. Knud invites Magda to live with him and his parents in the country for a while.
What happens is that a travelling circus comes to the village, and Magda is seduced by one of the artists, leaving her fiancé for him. Magda joins the circus and perform together with her lover.



Scene: Magda performes an erotic dance on stage, with her lover tied up with a lasso.




The relationship shows to be passionate and dramatic, and it's easy to see that it will soon fall apart. One day, after their erotic performance on stage, Magda realizes that her lover is attracted to another actress and starts a fight that gets both of them fired. She finds a job as a piano player instead.
But one day her and her fiancé's paths cross each other once again, leading to a dramatic settlement between them and her abusive lover.



The restoration of this soon-to-be 100 year old film is astonishing. Only a few scenes have been nearly destroyed, looking like the picture below. But that only gives the film a more eerie feeling.

This is the first film I've ever seen featuring Asta Nielsen. What a woman! Here I am, impressed by the frivolous flappers of the 1920's, and I'm being taken aback by one scene with Die Asta ten years before! (Perhaps Scandinavian women always have been more easy than American?)
Anyway, I'm impressed by this Danish woman!
The movie was very engaging and easy to take in and be moved by, probably because the acting, as I said before, wasn't as theatrical and melodramatic as other early silent films are. I strongly recommend this one.


3 comments:

Roos said...

I like avgrunden! ^^

Lolita said...

Roos:
Klart du gör, ditt lilla ego!

Anonymous said...

hello there thanks for your grat post, as usual ((o: