‘The Oyster Princess’, a silent movie by the legendary Ernst Lubitsch.
‘The Oyster Princess’ tells the story of oyster tycoon Quaker, a man so rich he even has a butler to hold his cigar while he smokes. The one thing left that could possibly impress king Quaker, would be to have his daughter Ossi marry a bona fide prince. He finds a poor prince, prince Nucki, who in turn sends his friend Joseph to get an idea of what Ossi is like... ‘The Oyster Princess’ marks a turning point in director Ernst Lubitsch’ comedy work. He leaves the slapstick behind and evolves toward a sophisticated form of satire. The target of his humour in this case is the American bourgeoisie, personified by the wealthy businessman ‘the Oyster King’. Laced with sour humour, we hear the story of the boundless wealth of the American bourgeoisie in the twenties and the snobbish attitude of the impoverished European aristocracy.
John Ford once said about Lubitsch: ‘None of us thought we were making anything but entertainment for the moment. Only Ernst Lubitsch knew we were making art’; and Hitchcock called him ‘A man of pure cinema.’ Lubitsch is known mainly for his Hollywood-period in the 1940’s and 1950’s with ‘The Shop Around the Corner’, ‘Ninotchka’, ‘Heaven can wait’ and many others. A few films from his Berlin period (ca. 1915) were recently restored, amongst others Carmen (Gypsy Blood) and Die Austernprinzessin from 1919.
For the 2005 edition of the Flanders International Film Festival – Ghent, composer Peter Vermeersch has written the music (score and sound mix) for the Oyster Princess and FES accompanied this film live. This project combines a director of historical importance with the refreshing FES approach and will appeal to a different but nevertheless film-loving audience.
The screening of The Oyster Princess is a co-production of the Festival of Flanders, Vooruit Arts Centre, the Flanders International Film Festival - Ghent, De Singel, Motives Festival Genk and non-profit organization BONK.
•Duration: 61 minutes.
•Language: German ‘written dialogues’ subtitled in French, Dutch, Spanish and English.