© 2014 William Ahearn

One of the interesting aspects of trying to grasp some historical sense of the films of the Weimar era is the realization that the history has more often than not been written by authors with agendas and ground axes that eventually reveal more by what they’ve ignored rather than what they championed.

Two names that immediately come to mind are Lotte Eisner and Seigfried Kracauer who, among other things, totally ignored Robert Reinert. Then again, so did Thomas Elsaesser. And the Museum of Modern Art in Weimar Cinema 1919-1933 also ignores him. It’s almost as if Reinert never existed in the annals of film history.

That is beginning to change and one of the most successful and creative directors of that era is being rediscovered. In a recent issue of Filmmuseum, Jan-Christopher Horak writes:

“One reason [he] fell out of history is that Reinert died young. Secondly, he produced his major output before Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari made German film an international brand. Thirdly, in contrast to other Expressionist art films of Germany in the 1920s, Reinert’s films utilize a deep focus mise en scene, and metaphoric narratives. Finally, if one is willing to accord Reinert the avant-garde status acknowledged by contemporary critics, he must be placed in the rightwing of the modernist movement, ie, in the context of a politically and culturally conservative film modernism that also included such filmmakers as Dr Arnold Fanck, Thea von Harbou, and Hanns Heinz Ewers.”

One could also add that his uncompromising attitude didn’t win him many friends and it is that attitude that makes this film so interesting. It’s on Youtube in a decent print and I’d advise downloading it to see it in a bigger format.

Produced by Monumental-Film-Werke. Written and directed by Robert Reinert. Cinematography by Helmar Lerski. Starring Eduard von Winterstein, Lia Borré, Erna Morena, Paul Bender, and Lili Dominici, among others.