Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sirens & Sinners: A Visual History of Weimar Film 1918-1933 stars

Here is another newly published book that every silent film and Louise Brooks fan will want to own, Sirens & Sinners: A Visual History of Weimar Film 1918-1933, by Hans Helmut Prinzler, the former director of the Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin.

Sirens & Sinners: A Visual History of Weimar Film 1918-1933 celebrates the height of Weimar cinema through images and commentaries on more than seventy of its finest films including the two Louise Brooks made in Germany, Pandora's Box (1929) and Diary of a Lost Girl (1929). Other G.W. Pabst films are also featured in this heavily illustrated book.

According to the publisher, "Between the First and Second World Wars, Germany under the Weimar Republic was the scene of one of the most creative periods in film history. Through the silent era to the early years of sound, the visual flair and technical innovation of its filmmakers set an international standard for the powerful possibilities of cinema as an art form, with movies such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu, Metropolis, and M building a legacy that shaped the world of film.

Here is a showcase of more than seventy films, selected to give a wide-ranging overview of Weimar cinema at its finest. Every genre is represented, from escapist comedies and musicals to gritty depictions of contemporary city life, from period dramas to fantastical visions of the future, with themes such as sexuality and social issues tackled by iconic stars like Marlene Dietrich and Louise Brooks. A wealth of film stills captures the bold vision of great directors like Fritz Lang and Ernst Lubitsch, while the text sets the historical scene and gives intriguing insights into what the films meant to the society that created them."

Each of the 70 films featured in Sirens & Sinners is given a two page spread. The glory of this book is in its 443 illustrations, 335 of which are in duotone. Many are little seen. Also useful is the bibliography in the back of the book, which lists many works. I am pleased to report that among the reference works listed in Sirens & Sinners is my Louise Brooks' edition of The Diary of a Lost Girl.

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