In this Book

Cinema Muto
summary

In Cinema Muto, Jesse Lee Kercheval examines the enduring themes of time, mortality, and love as revealed through the power of silent film. Following the ten days of the annual Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Italy, this collection of ekphrastic poems are love letters to the evocative power of silent cinema. Kercheval’s poems elegantly capture the allure of these rare films, which compel hundreds of pilgrims from around the world—from scholars and archivists, to artists and connoisseurs—to flock to Italy each autumn. Cinema Muto celebrates the flickering tales of madness and adventure, drama and love, which are all too often left to decay within forgotten vaults. As reels of Mosjoukine and D. W. Griffith float throughout the collection, a portrait also emerges of the simple beauty of Italy in October and of two lovers who are drawn together by their mutual passion for an extinct art. Together they revel in recapturing “the black and white gestures of a lost world.”

 

Cinema Muto is a tender tribute to the brief yet unforgettable reign of silent film. Brimming with stirring images of dreams, desire, and the ghosts of cinema legends gone by, Kercheval’s verse is a testament to the mute beauty and timeless lessons that may still be discovered in a fragile roll of celluloid.

 

 

 

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. c-ii
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  1. Book Title
  2. pp. iii-iii
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  1. Copyright
  2. pp. iv-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Act I
  2. pp. 1-2
  1. Saving Silence
  2. pp. 3-3
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  1. My Husband—Lover of Silent Movies—Attends Le Giornate del Cinema Muto
  2. pp. 4-4
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  1. The Adventures of Billy
  2. pp. 5-6
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  1. silent night
  2. pp. 7-7
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  1. Kurutta Ippeiji: A Page of Madness
  2. pp. 8-13
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  1. Last year, you were in Italy
  2. pp. 14-14
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  1. The Dark That Is Not Sleeping
  2. pp. 15-16
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  1. Familiarity, My Husband
  2. pp. 17-18
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  1. Voyage Autour D’Une Etoile
  2. pp. 19-20
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  1. Kohitsuji: The Lamb
  2. pp. 21-21
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  1. Italy, October
  2. pp. 22-22
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  1. Ein Werktag
  2. pp. 23-24
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  1. Byzantium
  2. pp. 25-25
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  1. I Due Sogni Ad Occhi Aperti: Two Dreams with Eyes Wide Open
  2. pp. 26-29
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  1. This is not a silent movie—there is music
  2. pp. 30-30
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  1. Act II
  2. pp. 31-32
  1. Mosjoukine in Exile
  2. pp. 33-46
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  1. Act III
  2. pp. 47-48
  1. Before the Movie
  2. pp. 49-49
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  1. Fragments from Le Mogli e le Arance: Wives and Oranges
  2. pp. 50-54
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  1. Le Canard, c. 1925?
  2. pp. 55-55
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  1. Tusalava
  2. pp. 56-57
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  1. La Vocation D’André Carel: The Vocation of André Carel
  2. pp. 58-59
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  1. L’Hirondelle et la Mesange
  2. pp. 60-61
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  1. Germinal
  2. pp. 62-62
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  1. Visage D’Enfants
  2. pp. 63-63
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  1. from the last century
  2. pp. 64-64
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  1. D. W. Griffith, December, 1911
  2. pp. 65-66
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  1. The Acting Career of Charles H. West Considered as Bad Karma
  2. pp. 67-68
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  1. film history as train wreck
  2. pp. 69-70
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  1. Imagine God as a Camera
  2. pp. 71-73
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  1. Goodnight Silents
  2. pp. 74-76
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  1. Keeper of Light
  2. pp. 77-77
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  1. Film Upon Film
  2. pp. 78-79
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  1. Bang
  2. pp. 80-81
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  1. The Projector
  2. pp. 82-82
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 83-83
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  1. Other Books in the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry
  2. pp. 84-85
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  1. Back Cover
  2. pp. bc-bc
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