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 Post subject: J'accuse
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:30 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2002 2:04 am
Posts: 1891
Location: Amsterdam
(It was actually the idea to post this on the HAVE YOU SEEN ANY GOOD MOVIES but I clikced the wrong button. Sorry for that)

Been to the worldpremiere of J'accuse, a 3 hour (!) movie by Abel Gance from 1919 with new music composed by Gary Lucas and Reza Namavar and performed live by the Cameleon Ensemble

Watch some footage and the new music by Gary Lucas & Reza Namavar here: ... gfp&ref=mf



J’accuse (I accuse)
The world-famous anti-war film by Abel Gance restored

Only one colour copy of Abel Gance’s renowned anti-war epic J’accuse (1919) has been preserved and it belongs to the collection of the Filmmuseum. The museum has safeguarded the future of this classic with an extensive digital restoration. During the Holland Festival the world première of the new copy of J’accuse will be festively presented in the Stadsschouwburg in Amsterdam, with new music by Gary Lucas and Reza Namavar, played live by the EnsembleCaméléon.

J’accuse, 23 and 24 June, Stadsschouwburg (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), 8 pm.

The presentation of the splendidly restored J’accuse follows previous Filmmuseum restorations of exceptional classics from the silent movie era. The Filmmuseum has presented new 35 mm prints of The Floor Below (1918, Mabel Normand) and Beyond the Rocks (1922, Sam Wood, with Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino), films which were long thought lost. Their discovery and subsequent restoration were world news. The restoration of J’accuse was part of the large-scale conservation project Images for the Future (

For the last two years the Filmmuseum has worked on the restoration of the renowned anti-war film J’accuse (1919) by the French director Abel Gance. The latest digital software has been used for the restoration, in which dust, scratches and punctures were removed and repaired. The starting point for the restoration was that the traces of time must remain visible to the public. It was therefore decided not to restore the film to a pristine condition but only to remove the most distracting damage. The original character of the production has also been preserved: the first copies were coloured with the tinting and toning procedure that was popular at the time. Using the Filmmuseum print – the only surviving colour nitrate copy - and copies from the archives of Lobster Films (Paris) and Narodni Filmovy Archiv (Prague), the original colour scheme has been restored. A new version, as complete as possible, was eventually reconstructed, 170 minutes long. This is the most complete version of J’accuse since 1922. (In that year a newly edited, shortened version was released for the international market.) Two copies have been made of the restoration, one with French intertitles and one with English intertitles.

Later this year the Filmmuseum will release J’accuse on DVD, with background information on the restoration.

Vehement condemnation by innovative director

With J’accuse the French filmmaker Abel Gance became world famous. When it was released – a year after the end of World War I - the film was not only received as an impressive condemnation of the horrors of modern warfare, the use of new techniques (rapid cutting) and the combination of documentary scenes (fighting scenes, two thousand front soldiers before the camera) and fiction was also considered sensational. By setting a love story – two men who fall for the same woman are forced to become comrades at the front - in the reality of war, Gance prevented his almost three-hour-long epic from becoming a tedious treatise. J’accuse has strongly influenced the work of directors such as Sergej Eisenstein, Vsevolod Poedovkin and F.W. Murnau.

Gala presentation

During the Holland Festival the new print of J’accuse will be festively presented in the Amsterdam Stadsschouwburg. Gary Lucas, ex-guitarist of Captain Beefheart, and the young Dutch composer Reza Namavar have composed a new score especially for these screenings, which the EnsembleCaméléon and Lucas himself will perform live. The British film historian and expert on Abel Gance, Kevin Brownlow, will introduce the screenings on 23 and 24 June (8 pm). Reservations can be made via the Holland Festival (

About Abel Gance

J’accuse was the direct result of Abel Gance’s experiences in the last months of World War I, in which he served as a cameraman and labourer in a poison gas factory. Gance, born in Paris in 1889, had previously worked as a film actor, scriptwriter and director of popular silent films like Mater dolorosa (1917) and La dixième symphonie (1918). Before the success of J’accuse Gance was already well known for his use of innovative techniques. His magnum opus Napoléon (1927) lasting six hours – a biographical super spectacle, filmed with three synchronized cameras and progressive free camera movements, projected in ‘Polyvision’ (tripartite screen) – is considered to be Gance’s last important production. After World War II Gance was still working as a scriptwriter and director of a few studio productions, including the historical drama Austerlitz (1960). The filmmaker died in Paris in 1981.

J’accuse (France 1919)

English interim titles – black-white/tinting/toning - 170’

Direction and scenario Abel Gance, Blaise Cendrars (assistant director)

Producer Pathé Frères

Camera Léonce-Henry Burel, Marc Bujard, Maurice Forster

Montage Andrée Danis, Abel Gance

Music Gary Lucas, Reza Namavar

(Some photos of the event are on my zappa memorabilia: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=8652&start=625)


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