At the end of the 1920s, the young filmmaker Henri Storck would borrow copies of newsreels from cinemas in Brussels, edit them during the night in order to highlight their class character and screen them before working class audiences. At the end of the weekend, the copies were re-edited back into their original state before being sent back. Storck developed this informal aesthetic into the compilation film Histoire du Soldat Incomnnu .
In August 1928, the Treaty for Renunciation of War was signed by 15 states; it was widely held to initiate a new era of peace. By 1929, 62 nations had signed. But the Pact was to prove entirely ineffectual; only 2 years later a leading signatory Japan was to invade Manchuria. Storck takes the 1928 newsreel images of the ineffective signing as his point of departure, reediting military parades, wreath laying ceremonies and rejoicing masses together with footage of anti-war demonstrators and skeletons to create an anti-imperialist collage that mocks the authority of the news as much as it does the realpolitik of Empire.
Henri Storck supervised the addition of a soundtrack in 1959.
Henri Storck was a Belgian author, film-maker and documentarist. His filmmaking career spans the century from 1927 into 1985. In 1933, he directed, with Joris Ivens, Mis?®re au Borinage, a film about the miners in the Borinage area. In 1938, with Andre Thirifays and Pierre Vermeylen, he founded the Royal Belgian Film Archive. He was an actor in two key films in the history of the cinema: Jean Vigo's Z?©ro de conduite (1933), as the priest, and a customer of the prostitute in Chantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quay Commercial, 1080 Brussels (1976)
Henri Storck, Histoire Du Soldat Inconnu, 1932 ¬© courtesy of Fonds Henri Storck