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 »
Marie wants to escape from her job and also from her lover, Paul, an unemployed drunk. She dreams of going off with Jean, a dockworker. The two men quarrel and fight over Marie on two ... See full summary »
Two rival kings addicted to gambling, Ranjit (Roy) and the evil Sohan (Rai), also vie for the same woman, Sunita (Seeta Devi), Kanwa the hermit's (Gupta) daughter. Ranjit loses his kingdom ... See full summary »
After serving in the trenches of World War I, Jean Diaz recoils with such horror that he renounces love and personal pleasure to immerse himself in scientific research, seeking a machine to... 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>
Abel Gance came up with the idea for this film the day his wife, Ida Denis, was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Gance completed editing on the 32 reel film on 9 April 1924, hours after Denis died. See more »
Gance seems overwhelmed by the theme of humanity crushed by incredible suffering, and some of the symbolism may seem heavy-handed, but this film deserves to be listed among the greats for its wonderful cinematography, the strong contrasts between the first parts portrayal of trains and the second parts moving to the beautiful, impassive scenery of the high Alps.
I have always been an admirer of Gance's Napoleon, but his J'accuse turned me off. La Roue has restored my desire to see the others: La fin de monde, Beethoven, and Austerlitz.
As for the suffering, this was made in 1921 in the aftermath of WW I, which is sufficient to account for Gance's obsession with the theme.
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