THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER: Jean Epstein, France 1928. 65mins.
Jean Epstein & Luis Bunuel’s 1928 interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tale of paranoia and suspense. Polish-born director Jean Epstein was heavily influenced by French Impressionism, as well as the conventions of German Expressionism. The Fall of the House of Usher is a heady mix of all these ingredients: a disorienting and disturbing tale of love, loss and decay. The wide floors of the almost-empty sets conjure the deepest darkness, punctuated by a candle flame, or a glimpse of a bridal veil trailing from a coffin. The pained faces of Jean Debucourt as the artist Roderick and Marguerite Gance as his tortured bride convey melancholy more than fear.
Cinema’s first true Gothic horror.
In The Nursery’s new score incorporates sound design along with more traditional instrumentation (inc. shruti box & ukulele) to encompass the Gothic nature of Epstein and Bunuel’s avante-garde vision. With haunting, and at times stunning, imagery, this movie really is film as art and In The Nursery’s score helps to reinforce the art of film.