dirs. David Cairns, Paul Duane, UK, 2013, DCP, b/w, French w/ English subtitles, 65 min.
Bernard Natan could be described as one of the fathers of French cinema. How did he come to be completely forgotten, especially so in France? How is it that what little attention is paid to him centers on his alleged career as a pioneer and performer in early gay and BDSM porn? Why was Bernard Natan’s name erased from the history of cinema, despite the fact that he dominated the French film industry for much of the ‘20s and ‘30s?
David Cairns and Paul Duane have excavated an extraordinary tale that aims to rewrite the history of European cinema. The man who brought sound cinema to France, the man who brought Cinemascope to the screen before the word existed, the French equivalent of Louis B. Mayer or Samuel Goldwyn, came to an end so tragic that it seems barely believable. Rumors and falsehoods have swarmed around his story for decades but this documentary finally brings the truth to light.