Movies - TV
Director Damien Chazelle Found The Early Talkies To Be A 'Catastrophic Loss' For Cinema
By JEREMY SMITH
Judging from its dazzling and chaotic trailer, Damien Chazelle’s upcoming film, “Babylon,” is hellbent on capturing early Hollywood in all its debauched glory. The movie is premised on the film industry’s shift from silent films to talkies, and despite its Roaring Twenties glamour, Damien Chazelle doesn’t shy from the "disastrous scenario" that ensued.
When recording tools were introduced, they physically and artistically limited filmmakers. As Chazelle describes it, “… suddenly the open-air freedom … and experimentation of silent film gets sandwiched and cloistered onto very confined soundstages where you can barely move because they hadn’t quite figured out yet how to move the camera easily with sound.”
Filmmakers faced a steep learning curve, and their art suffered. According to Chazelle, “Comparing some of the last silent films to some of the first sound films, you see right away just how brutal the shift was… The early talkies are really hemmed in, and it feels like this total, catastrophic loss,” especially since some of the great silent filmmakers didn’t survive the era.