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J'accuse! (25-Apr-1919)

Director: Abel Gance

Writer: Abel Gance

Keywords: Drama, WWI


Romuald Joubé   ...   Jean Diaz
Maxime Desjardins   ...   Maria Lazare
Séverin-Mars   ...   François Laurin
Angèle Guys   ...   Angèle
Marise Dauvray   ...   Edith Laurin


Review by Abel Gance (posted on 27-Apr-2007)

The film is a neglected gem. The drama segues from hackneyed love triangle to profound portrayal of the way war undermines and destroys all good. This is a film I would recommend to anyone. The innovative use of the dancing skeletons, and the universal critique of war, is done with a rich and somehow non-bombastic touch. We see the characters changes and the ways the war taints and destroys. Characters age, deepen, change. Much has been said of the final indictment of the living, and it really is powerful, but the movie as a whole is well worth the time and effort required to engage with it. The version I was able to borrow has long French title cards, and with rusty French it is a challenge to understand some of the specifics (who is related to whom, for example), but the major emotions and connections are very clearly presently visually in ways that are mesmerizing. It is a film that hypnotizes you for days.

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