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Philip Bespalov
Philip Bespalov

The Tales Of Hoffmann \/\/FREE\\\\



"Tales of Hoffmann" was filmed to a playback of the score, with dancers lip-synching to previously recorded songs. With the obligation to synch up sound eliminated, Powell and Pressburger were set free visually. From the first shot to the last, the film immerses the audience in a perfectly melded world of camera movement, dance, and production design. There are many extraordinary sequences: a gigantic staircase painted on the floor, with two dancers running up and down the "steps," shot from above; a thrilling duel in Venice; an entire scene with dolls come to life, mechanical and awkward; weathervanes spinning this way and that, the fairy-tale-like shot that opens the film. Seen on a large screen, "The Tales of Hoffmann" is overwhelming. Pure cinema. The film stars Moira Shearer, the superb Robert Helpmann in multiple roles, and handsome Robert Rounseville as the melancholy hero Hoffmann, who tells his "tales" to a debauched group in a tavern during an intermission of an opera production next door.




The Tales of Hoffmann



Lindorf and Hoffmann come face to face and exchange insults. Hoffmann tells his friends that whenever he encounters Lindorf he is beset by misfortune, and this reflection prompts him to relate the tales of his three loves.


Hoffmann (Robert Rounseville) sends a love note backstage to his dancer sweetheart Stella, but it's intercepted by the devious and possesive Linsdorf (Robert Helpmann). While waiting in a bar with his best friend Nicklaus (Pamela Brown, playing a man) for the performance of The Dragonfly Ballet to finish, Hoffmann tells three tales of frustrated love. In The Tale of Olympia Hoffmann falls in love with a beautiful dancer (Shearer again), not knowing that she's an automaton created by the magician Coppelius (Helpmann again). In The Tale of Giulietta Hoffmann is bewitched by the vain Giulietta (Ludmilla Tchérina) and almost loses his soul to a magic mirror. And in The Tale of Antonia Hoffman travels to a Greek island and falls in love with Antonia (Ann Ayars), who will die if she sings again.


What's being described here and what Powell & Pressburger were after conceptually was the same basic idea that we now associate with Music Videos. Starting with a pre-recorded and set audio track, the screen is used not just to record a performance but to express a particular aspect of the music. Some MTV-style music videos tell stories and others just strike moods. Powell & Pressburger had three grand tales to tell from E.T.A. Hoffman's fantastic storybook.


SINDERS: It's hard to say, historically, what's the start of artificial intelligence. If we're thinking of machines, I would argue the creation of the Mechanical Turk chess machine in the 1800s would be the start of that. But if we're thinking then of non-human entities with agency, one could hypothetically go back to the beginning of time. What of ghost tales and folktales and folklore and religion that talk about different non-human entities and acting with agency? Perhaps that's also the birth of artificial intelligence.


The poet E. T. A. Hoffmann as the protagonist of his own fantastic tales: In his encounter with three women - Olympia, Antonia, and Giulietta - he searches in vain for love and for himself. Will he draw the strength for art from his failure in life? Or will he fail in himself, even in alcohol? Like in a kaleidoscope, ever new constellations and shimmering colors mix German romanticism and French esprit.The composer died over the work without the first performance, which took place in a greatly greatly abridged form. Since then the performance history itself has been an exciting crime play, surprising discoveries have made Hoffmann's tales appear again and again in a new in a new and fascinating light. 041b061a72


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