The flag, the director and the operator

Posted: September 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Discoveries, Nerven |

Here are two interesting little visual asides I came across while reviewing footage of Nerven.

In an earlier post I showed how references to the flag of the Roloff industrial empire (found in the Berlin censor card) were deleted at some point from the Munich copy of Nerven. But now look at this screenshot from the Munich Filmmuseum DVD.

Nerven flag

Die Fahne, tödlich gehaßt von unseren Gegnern.. für uns ein Sturmruf, das Höchste zu wagen.

Shortly after’s Roloff’s proud boast, “Mit unseren Maschinen und Werkzeugen, ersonnen jeden Widerstand zu brechen, erobern wir die Erde! Hört Ihr’s? Die Erde!” the flag is carried in from the right (at circa 9 min 11 seconds playing time on the DVD). It passes in front of Roloff, drawing the attention of several in the audience, then there is a cut and it’s gone. It’s impossible to make out clearly what was on the flag from these few, brief, digitized frames. But I will wager that given the jagged, crenelated outline of the emblem on white ground in the flag’s center that this was a royal crest of some kind. Here’s a picture of the  Wittelsbacher coat of arms by way of comparison.

Second tidbit. At circa 22 min 27 seconds on the DVD the gardener’s parents come across the body of their son. The scene was filmed in the late afternoon in front of a blank wall. As they inch forward you can clearly see the dark, elongated shadows the parents throw on the wall to the right (as well as several “Schaulustige” in the background). But now what is this? Look carefully at the shadow just above and to the right of the dead boy’s left hand. It is the crook of a man’s elbow and now and again the brim of his hat. You can actually watch him gesticulating repeatedly with his left hand. Is he giving instructions to the actors right before him? “Come forward! Now again!” Reinert shadow? Maybe. I’d like to think so. Next comes an intertitle, “Wir haben auch unßer zweites Kind verloren!” Then after the title, at 22 min 50 sec., take a careful look at the far bottom right corner of the frame. A patch of light whose outlines are pulsing rhythmically and deliberately. The shadow of the operator’s hand cranking the camera.

Wir haben auch unßer zweites Kind verloren!