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15 March 2021 Lyon (France)
La Charrette Fantôme (The Ghost cart)
David Cassan, organ - Auditorium-Orchestre National de Lyon
In a cemetery, three vagrants celebrate New Year's Eve by getting drunk on brandy. One of them, David Holm (played by Sjöström), tells the legend of the phantom cart: on December 31, at the twelfth stroke of midnight, the last human being who dies becomes the new "coachman of death": he must then travel the world until the following New Year to collect the lost souls. At midnight, knocked out by his drunk comrades, David passed away: it was now up to him to drive the ghost cart. He sees his life go by and especially remembers Edith, a nun who had tried to put him back on the right track ...
The Ghost Cart presents a very daring narrative structure. Combining flashbacks, parallel and simultaneous actions, the film announces with three decades in advance Alf Sjöberg or Ingmar Bergman. Victor Sjöström uses very innovative methods - superimposing images, very mobile camera - while adding a particular sense of fantasy. The Ghost Cart inspired a lot of German expressionism, notably Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, but also film-makers like Julien Duvivier - who made a remake of it in 1938.