Young artist Eugène Mikael (Lars Hanson) poses for a statue sculpted by the older Claude Zoret (Egil Eide), who ends up adopting him; a few years later, a charismatic countess (Lili Bech) comes between them. One of the earliest films ever made with a homosexual theme has a less than convincing turn by Bech as the seductive countess, but Hanson is good as the bisexual model and Mauritz Stiller uses statues sculpted by Carl Milles to haunting effect. The most controversial aspect of the film is its framing story where we see the director prepare to make his movie, followed by the gala premiere in Stockholm! Critics were rightly confused… but it’s undeniably novel and intriguing.
1916-Sweden. Silent. 69 min. B/W. Directed by Mauritz Stiller. Screenplay: Mauritz Stiller, Axel Esbensen. Novel: Herman Bang (”Mikaël”). Cinematography: Julius Jaenzon. Cast: Egil Eide (Claude Zoret), Lars Hanson (Eugène Mikael), Lili Bech (Lucia de Zamikow), Albin Lavén, Bertil Junggren, Julius Hälsig… Nils Asther, Mauritz Stiller.
Trivia: Original title: Vingarne. The film’s running time differs depending on the amount of restored footage in different prints. The novel was also filmed in Germany as Michael (1924).