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 »
Gabriel de Gravone
Six vignettes follow the Allied invasion from July 1943 to winter 1944, from Sicily north to Venice. Communication is fragile. A woman leads an Allied patrol through a mine field; she dies ... See full summary »
In documentary style, events in Petrograd are re-enacted from the end of the monarchy in February of 1917 to the end of the provisional government and the decrees of peace and of land in ... See full summary »
Sergei M. Eisenstein
A massive six-hour biopic of Napoleon, tracing his career from his schooldays (where a snowball fight is staged like a military campaign), his flight from Corsica, through the French Revolution (where a real storm is intercut with a political storm) and the Terror, culminating in his triumphant invasion of Italy in 1797 (the film stops there because it was intended to be part one of six, but director Abel Gance never raised the money to make the other five). The film's legendary reputation is due to the astonishing range of techniques that Gance uses to tell his story, culminating in the final twenty-minute triptych sequence, which alternates widescreen panoramas with complex multiple- image montages projected simultaneously on three screens. Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When director Abel Gance did not receive the necessary financial support to expand this film to complete his original conception of a cinematic trilogy, he discarded cans of film that would have been used, depriving future film historians of invaluable insights into the director's vision. See more »
The drawing and name of Saint Helena on the blackboard differ between shots - the shape of the island, the accents used. See more »
Gance needed a figure as powerful as "Napoleon" to fulfill his dream of super cinema
Abel Gance's 'Napoleon' was premiered on April 7, 1927, at the Paris Opera House, the first movie to be accorded such an honor It was been shown on a triple screen and to full orchestral accompaniment, running slightly under four hours
Impressive as it seems, it was conceived as the first of a six-part biography running many hours and tracing the life of Napoleon from childhood to the bitter end in St Helena Fortunately-for Abel Gance who directed and for us-the project was only completed to that moment where Napoleon enters Italy at the head of the French army, and the later and less pleasant aspects of his spectacular career were left unfilmed... The Little Corporal, after all, is a less controversial figure than the Emperor
Gance needed a figure as emblematic and powerful as 'Napoleon' to fulfill his dream of super cinema
'Napoleon' is a masterpiece of excess:
The child Bonaparte keeps a pet eagle and wins a snow fight while at
school in Brienne... In this sequence, the frame splits into nine subliminal images; as Napoleon watches his men entering Italy, the screen expands on each side to form a breathtaking panorama, then changes into three coordinated views of the scene
The National Convention seems to sway and rock as Napoleon makes his
escape from Corsica in a storm-tossed sailboat
The Gallic of cabaret singers, Damia, leads French troops into battle
personifying 'La Marseillaise'
'Napoleon' is like one grand musical composition. It throbs with life
That was Gance the great filmmaker who thought that film could do everything and who said to Kevin Brownlow: 'For me, the cinema is not just pictures. It is something great, mysterious and sublime.' Brownlow is known now not only as an English filmmaker and film historian but also as a great restorer of silent films, notably Abel Gance's 'Napoleon.'
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