Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (whom Sisif rescued from a train crash when a baby and raised as his daughter), with tragic results. Originally ... See full summary »
Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (whom Sisif rescued from a train crash when a baby and raised as his daughter), with tragic results. Originally running nine hours, this epic tragedy is notable for the way it foreshadows Gance's later 'Napoleon' in its use of innovative cinematic devices, particularly rapid cutting. Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
Forget all the pedantic pseudo-psychobable and bargain-basement 'philosophy' you may read here. The bottom line is that while this film is extremely well crafted for it's time period, ultimately it is four and a half hours of heavy-handed nonsense. Pure depression from beginning to end. In fact, I too felt like committing suicide after watching it. So why these characters don't just go out and do it themselves is beyond me. Just when you think things couldn't get worse, they do. And there is no humor to lighten the load. At least 'Hamlet' had it's grave digger scene. There is a great deal of poetry in the images, and the overlapping images and quick cutting were unique trademarks of Gance's style for the time. Gance is obviously a master of his craft, one just wishes the film weren't so long, repetitive and heavy-handed in the end. And why are all these men obsessed with Ivy Close? Aside from the fact that she was Gance's wife, one cannot understand the obsession all these men have for her. I guess one had to be living in that time period.
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