Das Mädchen vom Moorhof/ La Fille des marais/ (Douglas Sirk, Germany, 1935)

A young maid-servant (Hansi Knoteck), impregnant by her former employer and humiliated in front of the whole village when he refuses to recognise the child as his, falls in love with with the son of her new employer, a young man (Friedrich Kayßler already promised to another (Ellen Frank). It’s a beautiful film. I don’t know how Sirk does it but every composition seems just right: beautiful to look at, poetically expressive. It’s a film of gentle rhythms and heightened feelings, unexpressed by the characters but communicated, sometimes urgently, by the mise-en-sçene. Some shots will find echo in Sirk’s later work in Hollywood (the shadows heading towards the farm; as Stanwyck’s to her old house in All I Desire). I’m so glad to have been able to see this.

José Arroyo


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