Abel Gance
& J’accuse
Cinematic Pacifism &
   Filmic Poetry



                      Abel Gance, 1889-1981
Setting the
   Stage
Still Life with Bowl and Fruit
  Femme devant sa fenetre
         Picasso, 1912
      Fernand Leger, 1923
Inception of a
     Film
Abel Gance
  1889 - 1981
“I pulled myself up short and
said, ‘Why are people making
films which are nothing but
events, when they have at their
disp...
La Folie du Dr. Tube (1915)
Francois



Jean
Technical
innovation

Cinematic
Poetry

The First
Anti-War Film
TECHNICAL
INNOVATION
Close-Ups

“Don’t take your camera too close. you
know you’re supposed to show the whole of
your actors, so you can see th...
Dynamic Lighting
Traveling Shots
Traveling Shots
Rapid Editing
Cinematic
 Poetry
A Bag of Tricks
Is it Poetry?

• Ode        • Repetition   • Symbolism
• Sonnet     • Rhyme        • Metaphor
• Haiku      • Rhythm       ...
Poetic Elements:
    Rhythm
Poetic Elements:
Symbolism & Metaphor
Hands Going to War
Poetic Elements:
   Repetition
Jean as a Poet
Ode to the Sun
Ode to the Sun (repeated)
The First
Anti-War Film
Soldiers’ Letters
The weather is mild and
the morning indifferent.
The dead won’t hold back
the spring.     - A Soldier’s Letter
If these letters
reach anyone, may
they instill in the
honest heart a
horror of the
infamy of those
responsible for this
w...
Darling mama -
If you receive no more letters from me after
this one, tell yourself that your son has left this
world for ...
Soldiers’ Letters
“J’accuse for me was not just a film. I felt
that I must use what I had left of my
strength and health to make it. I was
ve...
The Human Toll
The Battle of Verdun
The Dead Awake
“How I would like to see
all those killed in the war
rising up one night to visit
their countries, their
homes, to see if ...
Reception of
  the Film
“J’accuse forms one of the most terrible
indictments against war which it is possible to
imagine. But the effect is not pr...
“If this film had
been shown in
every country and
in every town in the
world in 1913, then
perhaps there
would have been no...
Abel Gance in Times Square, 1921
Abel Gance and D.W. Griffith, 1921
GANCE AFTER
  J’ACCUSE
Napoleon, Abel Gance, 1927
Napoleon, Abel Gance, 1927
Where to Go
 from Here
Where to Go From Here
Where to Go From Here
Thank you!
Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry
Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry
Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry
Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry
Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry
Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry
Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry
Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry
Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry
Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry
Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry
Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry
Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry
Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry
Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry
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Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry

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An exploration of Abel Gance's contributions to cinema technique and storytelling via his film, J'accuse (1919). Acknowledged as the first anti-war feature film, J'accuse is unique in its use of battlefield footage and soldiers on leave from the frontlines at Verdun as actors. Presented at <em>The Cambridge Center for Adult Education</em> with an associated screening of excerpts from the film. (November 2009)</p

Published in: Education, News & Politics
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Abel Gance & J'accuse: Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry

  1. 1. Abel Gance & J’accuse Cinematic Pacifism & Filmic Poetry Abel Gance, 1889-1981
  2. 2. Setting the Stage
  3. 3. Still Life with Bowl and Fruit Femme devant sa fenetre Picasso, 1912 Fernand Leger, 1923
  4. 4. Inception of a Film
  5. 5. Abel Gance 1889 - 1981
  6. 6. “I pulled myself up short and said, ‘Why are people making films which are nothing but events, when they have at their disposal such a marvelous medium for psychological stories? They go on making films about people chasing each other, killing each other or trying to commit suicide, but why not films which show feelings instead of merely action?’” - Abel Gance, 1960
  7. 7. La Folie du Dr. Tube (1915)
  8. 8. Francois Jean
  9. 9. Technical innovation Cinematic Poetry The First Anti-War Film
  10. 10. TECHNICAL INNOVATION
  11. 11. Close-Ups “Don’t take your camera too close. you know you’re supposed to show the whole of your actors, so you can see their gestures. “What are these huge pictures supposed to mean? They’ll show up all the faults in the face. you’ll have people panicking in the cinema. They’ll make for the exits!” - Louis Nalpas (Gance’s producer), 1915
  12. 12. Dynamic Lighting
  13. 13. Traveling Shots
  14. 14. Traveling Shots
  15. 15. Rapid Editing
  16. 16. Cinematic Poetry
  17. 17. A Bag of Tricks
  18. 18. Is it Poetry? • Ode • Repetition • Symbolism • Sonnet • Rhyme • Metaphor • Haiku • Rhythm • Irony
  19. 19. Poetic Elements: Rhythm
  20. 20. Poetic Elements: Symbolism & Metaphor
  21. 21. Hands Going to War
  22. 22. Poetic Elements: Repetition
  23. 23. Jean as a Poet
  24. 24. Ode to the Sun
  25. 25. Ode to the Sun (repeated)
  26. 26. The First Anti-War Film
  27. 27. Soldiers’ Letters
  28. 28. The weather is mild and the morning indifferent. The dead won’t hold back the spring. - A Soldier’s Letter
  29. 29. If these letters reach anyone, may they instill in the honest heart a horror of the infamy of those responsible for this war. - A Soldier’s Letter
  30. 30. Darling mama - If you receive no more letters from me after this one, tell yourself that your son has left this world for a country without postmen, but that he still thinks of you night and day. - A Soldier’s Letter
  31. 31. Soldiers’ Letters
  32. 32. “J’accuse for me was not just a film. I felt that I must use what I had left of my strength and health to make it. I was very ill at the time. When I saw the horrors of war and that all my best friends were dead - I had ten good friends and all were killed except one. I had a feeling of frenzy to use this new medium, the cinema, to show the world the stupidity of war.” - Abel Gance, 1965
  33. 33. The Human Toll
  34. 34. The Battle of Verdun
  35. 35. The Dead Awake
  36. 36. “How I would like to see all those killed in the war rising up one night to visit their countries, their homes, to see if their sacrifice was worth anything at all. The war would stop of its own accord, horrified by its own awfulness.” - Abel Gance, 1917
  37. 37. Reception of the Film
  38. 38. “J’accuse forms one of the most terrible indictments against war which it is possible to imagine. But the effect is not produced by the insistent horrors and sheer frightfulness. It is obtained by the emphasis of simple, natural humanity.” - Kine Weekly, 1919.
  39. 39. “If this film had been shown in every country and in every town in the world in 1913, then perhaps there would have been no war.” - Prague Newspaper, 1919
  40. 40. Abel Gance in Times Square, 1921
  41. 41. Abel Gance and D.W. Griffith, 1921
  42. 42. GANCE AFTER J’ACCUSE
  43. 43. Napoleon, Abel Gance, 1927
  44. 44. Napoleon, Abel Gance, 1927
  45. 45. Where to Go from Here
  46. 46. Where to Go From Here
  47. 47. Where to Go From Here
  48. 48. Thank you!

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