Histoire De Detective, is almost a perfect surrealist comedy, mainly because I am never entirely sure whether it is a comedy.

This is a silent film from the twenties, though it really wouldn't fit F.W. Murneau's conception of a film. As opposed to the general trend in cinema of the time away from inter-titles, this film has a title after every shot, "explaining" the shot. Explaining is a rather mediocre word though, because the explanations are only vaguely related to what you see on screen. The film is really an illustrated story...

Which is really the point. The film is about a detective, who uncovers mysteries through the use of cinema. In this "case" he is following a man whose wife thinks there's something wrong with him. The film contrasts the man's random wanderings around Europe, where he doesn't really seem to do anything, and the woman's office life, where she seems to be answering the phone all the time. The film contrasts the modern woman, with the man running around beaches, and sitting on stone bridges, but then comes to the conclusion that there is nothing strange about the man, he is actually a genius. Why? Because he decides to build a SEAWALL! (by which I assume is meant a hydro-electric plant).

I'm assuming any sensible person will now be asking what the hell I'm talking about... which is good, because I got that exact impression while watching the film. I can't recreate the effect of the subtitles, but the timing was hilarious. It was the type of film where at moments you think, "of course he's not going to Amsterdam, he's going to Luxembourg!!! How could he possibly be going to Amsterdam," while you have no clue why you're thinking that.

The convoluted logic of this whole film left my laughing continuously, and I was pleasantly sucked in to the play with futurist themes (I liked the girl too, but I seem to have that feeling about most women from the twenties).

I would suggest this movie to anyone who would like to know what surrealism is, or what comedy is.... unfortunately I don't think its available on DVD.... so I guess you're out of luck.

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