Jean Epstein is one of the filmmakers whose name tends to be more familiar than the films he made, largely because they're so hard to track down. A Polish born critic, novelist and filmmaker who worked primarily in France, Epstein is chiefly remembered for directing the first film adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher in 1928 (where his assistant was a certain Luis Buñuel), but in fact directed 39 films throughout his career, including a number of respected documentary works.
His 1923 Cœur fidèle (True Heart) established him as one of the most inventive directors of the (then still silent) art form. A pared-down tale of a barmaid oppressed by an exploitative foster family who attempt to push her into the arms of an unscrupulous regular-about-town, Marie's heart (exuberantly vivified by Gina Marès) belongs, as far as she's concerned, to the tenderly blank Jean (Léon Mathot)...
Cœur fidèle drives its simple story (which, with its infamous and exhilarating "carousel sequence", helped pave the way for the narrative tradition of such Murnau masterworks as Sunrise and City Girl) on into the realm of what might be considered an early incarnation of French poetic realism — all while still anticipating Epstein's magical, post-surrealist, later works.
Cœur fidèle will be released as a dual format edition, featuring both DVD and Blu-ray editions of the film, on 27th June 2011 by Masters of Cinema at the RRP of £23.48.
The release will feature a beautiful new high-definition transfer of the film, officially licensed from Pathé, presented in its original 1.37:1 aspect ratio, via a 1080p AVC encode on the Blu-ray, and now running at its true speed and length, plus a new score composed and performed by Maxence Cyrin and the original French intertitles, with newly translated optional English subtitles.
Also included will be the following extras:
- A gallery of rare photography from Cinémathèque Française;
- A 44-page booklet containing rare production photography, and writing about the film by Jean Epstein, Henri Langlois, René Clair, and more.