Northern Michigan University’s French Program is presenting its 10th annual “Classic Silent Film with Grand Piano Accompaniment.” La Chute de la Maison Usher, a 1928 French horror film, will be screened at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, in the Brule and Cadillac rooms of the University Center. Admission is free.
Robert Buchkoe will play the piano. The film is based on Edgar Allan Poe's Gothic short story The Fall of the House of Usher. It is directed by Jean Epstein. In it, Allan visits the sinister Usher family mansion, where his friend Roderick is painting a portrait of his sickly wife Madeline. The portrait seems to be draining the life out of Madeline.
“I was struck…by how completely it engaged me,” said the late film critic Roger Ebert in a review. “Some silent films hold you outside: You admire them, but are aware of them as a phenomenon. With The Fall of the House of Usher, I barely stirred during the film's 66-minute running time. A tone, an atmosphere, was created that actually worked. As with Nosferatu, the film seemed less a fiction than the realization of some phantasmagoric alternative reality. Epstein's openness to the grand gesture is helpful, as when Madeline is in her coffin, and her white bridal veil spills outside and blows in the wind.”
A reception with refreshments will follow the film screening. NMU’s French Club is sponsoring the event.