Sunday, January 25, 2015

Natan (2013) New York Jewish Film Festival 2015

Portrait of Bernard Natan a forgotten innovator in film history

Natan was born in Romania and then moved to France where he got any job he could working in the movies. Before WW1 he was arrested for selling erotic films. His record was then expunged after service in the Great War. After which he helped to rebuild Pathe Studios in to a world wide power. However accusation of swindles and that he was making hardcore porn films caused him to fall from grace.

Solid portrait of a man any film lover should know but doesn't seeks to restore Natal's place in history.  The film's genesis seems to have its origin in trying to debunk the legends of Natal's porn career which seems unlikely since several of the films he is alleged to have starred in look very little like him.

As an hour long look at Natal's life this is a really good primer on someone I had never heard of (nor had the film students who attend school in his former studio). Its such an intriguing tale that I really would love to try and find a biography of Natan so that I can get more details on his life and times.

What an absolute gem of a film. This is why I love going to film festivals, they open doors and show me films and people that under normal circumstances I would never have seen otherwise.

This is a must see for anyone who is interested in the history of film or anyone who wants see the story of an almost forgotten man who needs rediscovery.

The film plays twice on January 28th with How to Break into Yiddish Vaudeville. For more information and tickets go here.

(In the interest of full disclosure there are clips from the antique porn films which while relatively tame might get the film a hard R rating.)

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