in-the-bath-1908-im-bade-schwarzer-recensione-review-kritik

IN THE BATH

      Comments Off on IN THE BATH

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian) Deutsch (German)

by Johann Schwarzer

grade: 7

Although cinema had been invented some thirteen years before, Austria still had to familiarise itself with this new form of artistic expression. Cameras were still very rudimentary and scene changes rarely took place. Also In the Bath, therefore, has the simplest mise en scène possible. Everything takes place in a single room and, thanks to some editing cuts to give the whole thing dynamism, the scene unfolds rather quickly.

Away from prying eyes

A year of great importance, as far as Austrian film history is concerned, was 1908. In this year, in fact, what is officially considered the first film entirely produced in Austria was made, i.e. Von Stufe zu Stufe by Heinz Hanus, now unfortunately lost. And yet, already for a couple of years already, there was someone who delighted in making short erotic films, causing several scandals in the city (and throughout Austria). We are talking about the photographer and chemist Johann Schwarzer, who with his production company – the Saturn-Film Saturn-Film – for a good five years – from 1906 to 1911, the year he had to close his company for good – made numerous erotic short films, all decidedly humorous. These include also In the Bath, which was made in 1908.

As usual with Schwarzer’s works, therefore, In the Bath also has a rather short running time (just under four minutes). Everything takes place, therefore, in a single shot. Two women find themselves in an elegant bathroom. One of them starts to undress, while the second, her personal maid, helps her. Once naked, the woman enters the bathtub and, again helped by her maid, takes a bath, then lies down on a sofa near the tub and smokes a cigarette. The short story ends here.

As we can see, therefore, despite the fact that cinema had been invented about thirteen years before, Austria still had to familiarise itself with this new form of artistic expression. Cameras were still very heavy and rather rudimentary, while scene changes took place only rarely. Also In the Bath, therefore, has the simplest mise en scène possible. Everything takes place, in fact, in the aforementioned bathroom and, thanks to some editing cuts to give the whole thing dynamism, the scene unfolds rather quickly.

As usual for Johann Schwarzer’s films, as already stated, we see how also In the Bath is characterised by a certain irony and pleasant lightness: while the protagonist is intent on taking a bath, a rather curious man tries to enter the room, while the maid immediately stops him by locking him out of the door. The decision to give his films this character was in fact something very important to Schwarzer. During the Herrenabende (men-only evening shows), people were to have the opportunity simply to enjoy themselves, without thinking about everyday problems. And even if only for a few years, therefore, Schwarzer was able to achieve this, ranking as one of the most important pioneers in Austrian film history. Although after his untimely death on the front in 1914 he was practically forgotten by everyone, today, thanks to the Filmarchiv Austria, many of his films have been restored and re-presented to the audience. The historical importance of his Saturn-Film has finally been recognised.

Original title: Im Bade
Directed by: Johann Schwarzer
Country/year: Austria / 1908
Running time: 4’
Genre: erotic, comedy
Screenplay: Johann Schwarzer
Cinematography: Johann Schwarzer
Produced by: Saturn-Film

Info: the page of In the Bath on iMDb