Mor’ vran (The sea of the crows)

Year1930 Duration25 min. DirectorJean Epstein WriterJean Epstein PhotographyAlfred Guichard, Albert Bres, Marcel Rebière SoundJean Tedesco MusicAlexis Archangelsky Production Compagnie Universelle Cinématographique (CUC)

A close-up of a slowed down face had the force of one hundred films for Jean Epstein. If we add salt spray and a hardened life to the face on an uninhabitable island, the films that are hidden in his gaze are multiplied by a thousand. Mor’ vran is one of the deliveries by the French filmmaker in his Breton poems, lined with faces that look at us from what he called “the other side of the earth”. Specifically, he shows us the island of Sein, a tiny island with 200 inhabitants and three cemeteries. Filmed in 1930, four years before Flaherty filmed his Man of Aran some thousands of nautical miles further north. The scenario is similar, the human being mysteriously and radically strives to inhabit and prolong his lineage in a place where there are brushes with death every day. Epstein tells it with his characteristic poetic drama and shows us that the sea has eyes but can also speak to us. 

Jean Epstein

(Varsovia, 1987 – París, 1953)

He began directing his own films at the beginning of the 1920’s. Luis Buñuel was his assistant director in Mauprat (1926) and The Fall of the House of Usher (1928), in which he experimented with slowing down the images. During this decade, he was influenced by German expressionism. Later, his attention moved to Brittany, where he made films like Finis Terrae, Mor´Vran, L'Or des mers, Le Tempestaire or Chanson d'Armor, the first film made in the Breton language. Influenced by avant-garde and surrealism, Jean Epstein contributed to modernising the art of film at a time at which the film industry was seeking new forms of expression. After the Second World War, he just about filmed another two films. 


Pasteur (1922)
Les Vendanges (1922)
La Montagne infidèle (1923)
Coeur fidèle (1923)
La Belle nivernaise (1923)
L'Auberge rouge (1923)
Le Lion des Mogols / El león de Mongolia (1924)
La Goutte de sang / La Gota de sangre (1924)
L'Affiche (1924)
Les Aventures de Robert Macaire (1925)
Mauprat (1926)
Au pays de G. Sand (1926)
Le Double amour (1926)
Six et demi onze (1927)
La Glace à trois faces / El espejo de las tres caras (1927)
La Chute de la maison Usher / El hundimiento de la casa Usher (1928)
Finis terrae (1929)
Sa tête (1929)
Le Pas de la mule (1930)
Notre-Dame de Paris (1931)
Mor’ vran (1931)
L'Or des mers (1932)
L'Homme à l'hispano (1933)
La Châtelaine du Liban (1934)
Chanson d'armor (1934)
La Vie d'un grand journal (1934)
Cuor di vagabondo (1936)
La Bourgogne (1936)
La Bretagne (1936)
Vive la vie (1937)
La Femme du bout du monde (1937)
Les Bâtisseurs (1938)
Eau vive (1938)
La Relève (1938)
Artères de France (1939)
Le Tempestaire (1947)
Les Feux de la mer (1948)

Promoted by
Gobierno de Navarra
Organized by
With the aid of
Con la financiación del Gobierno de España. Instituto de la Cinematografía y las Artes Audiovisuales Acción Cultural Española Plan de Recuperación, Transformación y Resiliencia Financiado por la Unión Europea. NexGenerationEU

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