Jean Epstein

Active - 1922 - 1947  |   Born - Mar 25, 1897   |   Died - Apr 3, 1953   |   Genres - Drama

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

As a filmmaker, Jean Epstein made French films during the silent and early sound eras. He worked on several experimental and avant-garde films and is also known as a film theorist. Epstein was born in Warsaw, Poland but educated in France and Switzerland where he studied medicine at the University of Lyon. Later he became interested in film and literature and was heavily influenced by the work of French theorist Louis Delluc. In 1921, Epstein published his first theoretical piece (which was noted for its lyrical, almost poetic descriptions of his ideas) for Bonjour Cinema. He made his film debut the following year with a documentary chronicle of Pasteur's life. In 1923 he had his greatest success with Coeurfidele (1923), a cinematic expression of his theories. He then went on to experiment with films and made the highly acclaimed, Impressionistic Fall of the House of Usher (1928). Among his best-known books on film are Le Cinema vu de l'Etna(1936) and Le Cinema du Diable (1957). As a filmmaker, he frequently worked closely with his sister Marie. He signed a ten-year contract with Pathe in 1923, but three years later broke it to form his own production company Les Films Jean Epstein.

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