introduction by Tom Gunning
The 1929 film Finis Terrae opens the two day symposium Jean Epstein's Interdisciplinary Cinema and the French Avant-Garde. The symposium on Jean Epstein - filmmaker, theoretician, poet, and critic - aims to expand our understanding of Epstein's diverse oeuvre and his involvement with the French avant-garde movements, especially in cinema's late silent era.
In Finis Terrae, two young men, Ambroise and Jean-Marie, have an argument over a broken bottle of wine and a missing knife. Ambroise falls ill when a cut on his hand caused by a piece of broken glass becomes infected. His colleagues just think he is being lazy when he stops working and they ignore him. However, when Jean-Marie finds his missing knife and goes to see Ambroise he realizes that he is seriously ill. Epstein created this work amongst the islands of Brittany using local residents and crews from Ouessant.
(Jean Epstein, 1929, 81 minutes, 35mm print courtesy of the Cinémathèque Française)