Sonic Fictions

Terrors of the World (1920)

Photo credits: The National Film Archive

silent film, melodrama, runtime: 43 minutes
music: Ana Teodora Popa

Director: Jenő Janovics
Screenplay: Prof. Constantin Levaditi, Eugen Gyalui
Cinematography: Laszlo Fekete
Actors: Mihaly Fekete, Lili Poor, Gyula Nagy
Producer: Transsylvania (Cluj)

Terrors of the World – how piercing the Romanian title of Jenő Janovics’ melodrama when it was released! A great deal of this force was lost in the new translation, which replaced its terrors with wonders. In any case, the wonder in question is syphilis, the “social sickness” of the ‘20s, to whose awareness and prevention cinema did contribute; to this effect, Mihály Fekete (The Old Infantryman and his Son, the Hussar) tackled the topic in Contagion, his 1919 feature, and, a year later, played the role of Pierre Sylvain, the protagonist in Janovics’ film, also produced by Film Factory Transylvania and written with the involvement of the same Gyalui Jenő. Mihály’s character is a kept man, as it were, the husband of famous actress Doria Sylvain; and the lover of Shiva, an underage actress who passes the infection to him. From here on, Mr. Sylvain’s dilemma, closely guided by a doctor friend, will be how – or whether – to break it to his wife. There is a grand cinematic moment in Janovics’ film, that in which the syphilis bearer is shown around the clinic where patients are treated; a veritable lesson in popularizing medicine, but more so a walk through the house of terror. After a peek through the microscope lens, the doctor moves on to the faces of the sickness; six in total, five of which dart glances around and the sixth is blind. I once counted myself among the believers in the magic of film; well, seeing that time has scratched precisely the photograms of those moments only adds to my belief. (Călin Boto)

Ana Teodora Popa (b. 1988, Iași) is a sound artist, composer and sound engineer. She works in the field of performing arts where she makes both music and sound design for shows and radio theater. She studied at the Ontario Institute of Audio Music Theater. In 2013 she was employed at the National Theater in Iași where she soon became the coordinator of the Sound and Video Department. She collaborated with important directors, such as Mihai Maniuțiu, Erwin Simsensohn, Octavian Jighirgiu. Her personal projects focus on sound experimentation, binaural creations and the exploration of technically innovative methods. She continued her research work building a binaural microphone, and is currently creating binaural works, sound design and composing music. In 2018 she won the Third Prize in the international Grand Prix Nova competition with a non-verbal, binaural song, created using only mono / stereo files and a unique editing method. She participated in 2019, as a resident, in the “Sonic Future Residencies” program, and in 2020 in the “POLYPHONIC ECHOES” sound art and poetry project (Half Full / SemiSilent Association).

As a consequence of the contractual requirements imposed by the Romanian Film Centerwe separated the video and the audio sources. The developed automatic system synchronizing the applications used may cause small delays due to your internet provider and devices (desktop, phone, etc.).
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