Ernst Moerman 1897 - 1944
Ernst Moerman - Monsieur Fantômas (1937)
Ernst Moerman was an ardent fan of Souvestre and Allain's character Fantômas, whom he dubbed "the demoralizing gentleman", he made him the emblematic hero of his medium-length silent film, Monsieur Fantômas. Shot on a shoestring budget on a beach and in an old cloister, the style of this scathing surrealist satire is immediately recognizable as that of the Feuillade serials. In top hat and tails, the Master of Crime (played by the future father of French singer Johnny Hallyday) tours the world in pursuit of the beautiful Elvire, punctuating his travels with mischief and acts to offend proper decency. The film encompasses amour fou, the meanders of dreams, fanatical anti-clericalism and a plea for subversion and adventure in "a world where nothing is impossible, where the miracle is the shortest route from our uncertainty to mystery" (E. Moerman).