Short Film: Absinthe

Proof that the social scare film is as old as the cinema itself, Absinthe is the 1913 equivalent of Reefer Madness. The titles here are not in English, but it’s a silent film so you shouldn’t need them to follow the story anyway. Note that the main character is an artist with a particularly goofy beret. It is a testament to the social scare film’s habitual oversimplification that within days of his first sip of absinthe, the artist’s life has fallen apart completely; and within moments of giving up the drink, his life is put back together.

Absinthe is interesting both to enthusiasts of silent cinema and as an example of society’s attitude towards absinthe as La Belle Époque drew to a close.

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