Tartuffe

Closer shot: The first floor

Darkness of night.

But! Descending the first flight of 

stairs;

like a shadow; at first unrecognisable.

Tartuffe?

It is. He stands.

Only a black shape.

 Does he look upwards, slightly?

Because

Slow pan

upwards:     Above Tartuffe’s door:

A second door.

Attic door.

Glazed.

 Lit from behind.

And there: The shadow of Dorine.

Combing her hair.

Seconds

Then: suddenly: the light

Has it gone out?

It has.

            And so!

Closer shot: Tartuffe.

Returning his gaze.

 This way.

Slowly. Pale in this

black night.

I’m currently reading the BFI Film Classics book on Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari and the first chapter gives this wonderful extract, not from Caligari but from the script of Tartuffe. It was written by Carl Mayer and it’s given in the book as an example of his ‘truly Expressionist’ style of writing. I thought that it was quite striking, not least because you’d never get a film script written in such a way now, but because it actually does read like a poem.

I’ve never seen Tartuffe but this does make me want to watch it. It’s so wonderfully evocative of what is a simple and obviously significant moment, a light going on to reveal a man in a scene framed by darkness.

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