See the moving picture

FIGURE 6.28

Family Values in Five Tableaux

Victimes de l’alcoolisme (The Victims of Alcohol)

Ferdinand Zecca, Pathé-Frères, France, 1901

The film retells the familiar story of the working man whose drinking destroys his family and drives him insane, with each of five tableaux charting his descent from happiness into madness. As is clear from this shot (showing the corner where the bar is located), the studio set is quite detailed, and depth of space is sharply defined by the delineation of the street that angles to the background. Victimes is also the first known film in which Pathé uses intertitles to separate tableaux. Like many early “melodramas,” both in France and elsewhere, this one preaches the virtues of family harmony and the value of work that contributes to social well-being and stability.

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