By Paul Cuff
This ebook explores the construction and destruction of Abel Gance’s so much bold movie venture, and seeks to provide an explanation for why his meteoric occupation was once so approximately extinguished on the finish of silent cinema. by way of 1929, Gance was once France’s most renowned director. Acclaimed for his technical innovation and visible mind's eye, he used to be additionally admonished for the over the top size and price of his productions. Gance’s first sound movie, La Fin du Monde (1930), used to be a serious and fiscal catastrophe so nice that it approximately destroyed his occupation. yet what went incorrect? Gance claimed it used to be advertisement sabotage when critics blamed the director’s inexperience with new know-how. Neither excuse is passable. in keeping with broad archival learn, this booklet re-investigates the cultural history and aesthetic outcomes of Gance’s transition from silent filmmaking to sound cinema. La Fin du Monde is printed to be just one part of a rare cultural undertaking to rework cinema right into a common faith and propagate its strength during the League of countries. From unfinished movies to unrealized social revolutions, the reader is given a desirable journey of Gance’s misplaced cinematic utopia.
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Extra resources for Abel Gance and the End of Silent Cinema: Sounding out Utopia
Therefore, it is impossible to know whether Gance’s requests for textual alterations were carried out. 3. Gravone later recalled that the American actress Emmy Lynn had been signed for ECCE HOMO (1923: 16). Lynn was the wife of French director Henry Roussell and had starred in two films Gance made in 1917: MATER DOLOROSA and LA DIXIÈME SYMPHONIE. CHAPTER 2 Towards Utopia ART AS RELIGION The Great War had a profound impact on the way in which intellectuals viewed established cultural ideologies.
I’ve never seen him: he is nowhere to be found – nowhere – nowhere. The absence of God towers like the sky above the horrific wars between good and evil, above the trembling zeal of the righteous, above the haunting vastness, above the torturous cemeteries, above the ossuary of innocent soldiers, above the inarticulate cries of survivors. Absence! Absence! For the 100,000 years that life has tried to repel death, man has cried out in vain from earth towards God – and no reply has given a more perfect idea of silence.
1919: 211) Barbusse was one of many artists to speak out against the apparent ‘triumph of the Right’ in French politics at the end of the war, as well as the ‘right-wing form’ of the ‘victory celebrations and the commemoration of the war dead’ (Fortesque 2000: 136). He became a member of the Bolshevik Party after moving to Russia at the end of the war, and joined the French Communist Party on his return to France in the 1920s. Barbusse proclaimed that society must demolish the imperialist militarism that had led to the exploitation of the people, and which reasserted its values in the post-war years: ‘It would take a supernatural imagination to comprehend the scale of destruction whose occurrence is constant and universal, maintained by the bloody will of those who uphold the capitalist utopia through terror, and use it to crucify humanity’ (1921: 59).