Three murders, prostitution, homelessness, a child borne out of wedlock: the plot packs enough incident for a full shelf of Simenon novels, let alone a half-hour silent movie whose story is told totally through images. But as critic Georges Sadoul noted, Menilmontant is «not a melodrama but an antecedent to neo-realism, portraying life itself with a sensitive use of natural sets and a feeling for poetry and truth.» In this whirling synopsis of Soviet, German, French, American cinematic styles, Kirsanoff, a Russian refugee in Paris, never loses the sight of desperate or generous humanity. In the films indelible scene, a young mother (Kirsanoffs wife Nadia Sibirskaia), shivering and miserable, is joined on a park bench by an old man she doesnt know. Without ostensibly acknowledging her, the old man leaves scraps of bread in the space between them for the tearful, grateful girl. An ennobling emotional wipeout.