Films Albatros

Stay connected and enjoy the #MuseumFromHome

Dec 18–31, 2013


<em>The Late Mathias Pascal</em>. 1924. France. Directed by Marcel L’Herbier

In 1920, the film production company that would later be known as Albatros moved into the old Pathé studio in the Paris suburb of Montreuil. It consisted of a group of plucky Russians—all accomplished film professionals—who had fled their native country via Constantinople in reaction to the Bolshevik Revolution and the protracted civil war that followed. The magnificent talent gathered in Montreuil—Ivan Mosjoukine, Alexandre Volkoff, Nathalie Lissenko, Ivan Lochakoff, Yakov Protazanov, Viatcheslav Tourjansky—competed successfully with the American cinema in a Europe still reeling from the most ruinous war in history. Alexandre Kamenka assumed the manager’s reins in 1922, and by 1924, as many of the principals were lured away, he began hiring major French directors like Jean Epstein, René Clair, Marcel L’Herbier, and Jacques Feyder. Mosjoukine, an actor with an electrifying onscreen presence who was catapulted to international stardom with Le Braisier ardent and Kean, was himself lured to Hollywood by Universal Pictures—where he made only one film, Surrender, in spite of a five-year contract.

For barely a decade, Films Albatros enjoyed tremendous critical and public success in postwar Europe, and France in particular. This exhibition illuminates Albatros’s pre-history before the Russian Revolution, its richly varied output, and Kamenka’s last-gasp collaboration with the great Jean Renoir—eight years after the studio’s effective demise. All films are silent, with English translation and live musical accompaniment, unless otherwise noted.

Organized by Charles Silver, Curator, Department of Film, and Vika Paranyuk, PhD candidate at Yale University and author of a Master’s thesis on Ivan Mosjoukine.

Prints provided by the Cinémathèque Française, UCLA Film & Television Archive, and The Library of Congress Motion Picture Division. Special thanks to Emilie Cauquy, Richard Suchenski, David Shepard, Jeff Masino, Serge Bromberg, Todd Wiener, Lynanne Schweighoffer, Dudley Andrew, and Turner Classic Movies.


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or, please email If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to