Secrets of the East

(Geheimnisse des Orients/ Shéhérazade)

Germany, France 1928. Dir Alexandre Volkoff.

Print courtesy of National Film Center, Tokyo

With introductory remarks on Orientalism by Sarah Cheang, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at London College of Fashion.

A big-budget Franco-German co-production, Volkoff’s “Luxusfilm” of the yearis an exquisite fantasy of an escape into the ‘Orient’, a theme which was still going strong in both European and Hollywood cinema in the late-1920s. Over-the-top ornamental sets by Ivan Lochakoff and sensuous costumes by Boris Bilinsky are a magnificent blend of Eastern and Western motifs, from stylised Islamic and far-eastern influences to Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Expressionism. With its paradise atmosphere, the film is a fairy-tale world of fancy filled with adventure, magic, mystery and harem dancers.

With live piano accompaniment from John Sweeney on Thursday 9 and Stephen Horne on Sunday 12.

BFI Southbank NFT2 Thursday 09 Dec 2010, 20:40
BFI Southbank NFT2 Sunday 12 Dec 2010, 18:20