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The Adventure of a Good Citizen

Stefan and Franciszka Themerson
1937
10mins Black and White 35mm

The Adventure of a Good Citizen

'The film contains some spoken words. Just two sentences. At the beginning, the Carpenter to Two Men Carrying a Wardrobe "The skies won't fall in if you walk backwards!". At the end the Good Citizen says to the audience: "You must understand the metaphor, Ladies and Gentlemen!"'

The first sentence is overheard by The Good Citizen in his office. He gets up and tries to walk backwards. In the street, after the collision with the Two Men Carrying a Wardrobe, he and one of the porters carry the wardrobe backwards (á reculons) from the town into the forest. Some frames in the lyrical part in the forest were hand coloured. Inscriptions on the banners carried by the protesting marchers (representing a cross-section of the people) read: FORWARD MARCH, EVERYBODY! DOWN WITH WALKING BACKWARDS!

'The curious thing about this film is that it makes sense also when your view it backwards, from the end to the beginning, both the picture and sound, those who walked backwards — walk forward, and those who walked forward — walk backwards.'
Stefan Themerson,The Urge to Create Visions Gaberbocchus + De Harmonie, 1983, p. 82

First shown at Spółdzielnia Autorow Filmowych (S.A.F.), Kino Europa, Warsaw, 31 March, 1938
The only survivor of the Themersons' pre-war films

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