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Michael Rumer, The Eclipse and Rebirth of an Unidentified Filmmaker

The history of cinema is not set in stone, and sometimes it happens that a work unknown until recently finds its way into the conscience of a cinephile. This is exactly what happens to Michael Rumer, an unknown American filmmaker whose three films appeared out of nowhere and are today distributed by Les Films du Camélia: Nothing but a man (1964), a vivid picture of the American black condition, Harry Plotnik alone against all (1970), a caustic New York Jewish comedy and Revenge is mine (1984), a female drama with gothic accents. If the first two were already the subject of French exploitation (in 1966 and 1990), without leaving much of a trace, the third, filmed for American public television, remained unpublished until then.

Discovering them in restored copies, these three films are remarkable for their unusual beauty, their sensibility that defies American standards, their subtle articulations and the thickness of their characters. Reached by phone with their author, now 95, a retired Yale professor, one can hear the lively voice and friendly tone of someone who still marvels at his career.

The story of Michael Romer is married to the painful course of the 20th centurye century. Born in Berlin in 1928, during the last fires of the Weimar Republic, he was deported to England at the age of 11 thanks to Operation Kindertransport, which saved tens of thousands of Jewish children to be placed in foster families. “I had a difficult childhood in Germany. says the film director. I grew up in a family that was very concerned about Nazi legislation preventing my parents, who were Jewish, from having access to work. Before the war, I was lucky enough to be sent to an English school for refugees. I was a good student, my future opened up and I was able to continue my studies in America. »

On the way to a documentary

[In1945thankstoascholarshiphewenttoBoston(Massachusetts)tojointheprestigiousHarvardUniversityfromwhichhegraduatedwithadegreeinartsfouryearslater[1945წელსსტიპენდიისწყაითიგიდაეშვაბოსტონში(მასაჩუსეტსი)რათაშეუერთდესპრესტიჟულჰარვარდისუნივერსიტეტსრომელიცდაამთავრახელოვნებაშიოთხიწლისშემდეგ“Remembering”. The first time he was seduced by the theater (“I was a very bad actor”), then falls back into the cinema. “I started watching movies at university, He explains. And for the first time in my life. I absolutely believed what was happening on the screen. I really needed to believe in something. Usually this is the role of God, but after the concentration camps it was difficult to believe in God. »

Source: Le Monde

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