Maurice Ravel
  • Maurice Ravel

In my review of House of Pleasures (which ends its run at the Gene Siskel Film Center tonight), I focused on the ways in which the film’s writer-director, Bertrand Bonello, draws attention to his audience’s distance from the 19th-century setting. He’s not the first person to reflect this alienation through art: indeed, it seems to have been common practice in the years following World War I. The Great War devastated the European continent with unprecedented efficiency, as developments in industry and technology allowed for great numbers of people to be killed in record time. If death was now something one experienced as part of a giant, anonymous mass, what was the new century going to do to life?